Applied Behavior Analysis is the science in which tactics derived from the principles of behavior are applied to improve socially significant behavior and experimentation is used to identify the variables responsible for the improvement in behavior. By John O. Cooper, Timothy E. Heron, William L. Heward. Applied Behavior Analysis (2nd Edition)
The principles of Applied Behavior Analysis can be seen at work in a wide variety of applications. Applied Behavior Analysis isn’t just for people with Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorders. For example, ABA can be used to help a person to eat healthier, and to exercise more. ABA can be used to teach toilet training and language to a typically developing toddler or chemistry and algebra to a high school student. ABA can also be used to get people to recycle and to conserve household energy use. ABA programs have been successful in teaching new skills to individuals with Autism, brain injuries, Down syndrome, and intellectual disabilities to name a few. ABA may also used to decrease behaviors such as aggression and self-injurious behaviors and to quit smoking and stop nail biting.
The seven dimensions of ABA are: applied (socially significant behaviors), behavioral (precise measurement of the behavior), analytic (experimental control), technological (written description of procedures), conceptually systematic (behavior change interventions are derived from basic principles of behavior), effective (improves behavior sufficiently to produce practical results for the client), and generality (produces behavior change that lasts over time.)