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Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a therapy that aims to change a person’s behavior by applying the principles of learning. It has a proven history and has been very successful in helping children with behavioral problems in public schools. In addition to managing behavior, some groups find that ABA also improves focus, communication, and social skills.

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1. How Does ABA Work?

When a parent punishes their child by placing them in a time-out, they are applying applied behavior analysis, often unconsciously. By making careful observations of the surrounding environment and other factors, experts can determine how they affect behavior. This allows them to provide more positive influences to adjust a person’s behavior and actions toward more socially acceptable alternatives. The theory has origins dating back several decades, though its most notable influence is B.F. Skinner’s work on operant conditioning.

parent child time out Jamie Grill / Getty Images
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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.