What is Applied Behavior Analysis

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?


According to the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions, Massachusetts General Law Chapter 112, Section 162, defines the practice of applied behavior analysis as:


The design, implementation and evaluation of systematic instructional and environmental modifications, using behavioral stimuli and consequences, to produce socially significant improvements in human behavior, including the direct observation and measurement of behavior and the environment, the empirical identification of functional relations between behavior and environmental factors, known as functional assessment and analysis, and the introduction of interventions based on scientific research and which utilize contextual factors, antecedent stimuli, positive reinforcement and other consequences to develop new behaviors, increase or decrease existing behaviors and elicit behaviors under specific environmental conditions that are delivered to individuals and groups of individuals; provided, however, that the “practice of applied behavior analysis” shall not include psychological testing, neuropsychology, diagnosis of mental health or developmental conditions, psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, sex therapy, psychoanalysis, psychopharmacological recommendations, hypnotherapy or academic teaching by college or university faculty.





According to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board:


Behavior Analysis is the scientific study of principles of learning and behavior. Two primary areas of study include the experimental analysis of behavior and applied behavior analysis. The experimental analysis of behavior is the basic science of the discipline and has, over many decades, accumulated a substantial and well-respected body of research literature on how behavior is learned and changes over time. The experimental analysis of behavior is the scientific foundation of applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA is a systematic approach for influencing socially important behavior through the identification of reliably related environmental variables and the production of behavior change techniques that make use of those findings.

Practitioners of behavior analysis provide services consistent with the dimensions of ABA. Common services may include, but are not limited to, conducting behavioral assessments, analyzing data, writing and revising behavior-analytic treatment plans, training others to implement components of treatment plans, and overseeing the implementation of treatment plans. Behavior analysts are qualified to provide services to clients with a variety of needs, including improvements in organizational functioning (e.g., staff performance, management and pay structure interventions), skill deficits (e.g., communication, adaptive behavior), and problem behavior (e.g., aggression, self-injurious behavior), among others.... For the purposes of BACB certifications and exams, the content of applied behavior analysis is contained in the BACB Fourth Edition Task List.



​Baer, Wolf, and Risley (1968)

Applied behavior analysis, as known today, was originally defined by Baer, Wolf, and Risley (1968) in terms of seven dimension in the article, "Some Current Dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis" in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.




Practice Areas


Applied behavior analysis is the science of behavior and applies to all human and animal behavior.  Although there are many examples of the application of ABA to human or animal behavior, ABAI provides a list of various special interest groups related to applied behavior analysis.



ABA and Autism Services


ABA is a safe and effective treatment to help people with autism and developmental disabilities live happy and productive lives. Notably, ABA techniques and principles can help individuals to obtain independence in daily activities, acquire academic skills and engage and communicate more effectively with others.  Applied Behavior Analysis professionals throughout the Commonwealth have received extensive training in their field and become licensed applied behavior analysts or assistant applied behavior analysts through the Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professionals.'

For additional information on ABA and autism treatment, please visit the Association for Science in Autism Treatment's (ASAT's) website at http://www.asatonline.org/for-parents/learn-more-about-specific-treatments/applied-behavior-analysis-aba/

How can MassCAP help me?


MassCAP is a trade organization that represents the interests of ABA provider companies.  Massachusetts has a number of provider organizations, large and small, that share common interests.  Joining MassCAP is a way of combining efforts with other agencies to have a stronger voice in legislative and other matters that affect our ability to provide quality ABA services in a way that is sustainable for our organizations.  MassCAP also provides a forum for open dialogue between ABA business professionals and practitioners related to practical concerns, such as compliance and evidence-based best practice, and ensures that members are kept up-to-date on relevant news.  Becoming a MassCAP member lets your voice be heard; by joining forces, we all become stronger.

How Does MassCAP Make Decisions?


MassCAP is tasked with exclusively representing the interests of a variety of different ABA provider companies rather than individual clinicians or professionals.  We address issues which are important to our members such as legislative, regulatory, and policy matters related to our field.  

In working towards our goals, our decision-making process occurs at a member level or at a board level.  Our organization has been specifically structured such that the board of directors is diversified to represent the interests of the provider community of varying sizes, structures, and business models.  Our member base is accorded input and an equal vote, regardless of the size of the organization.

Are donations to MassCAP tax deductible?


No.  MassCAP will be filing as a 501(c)(6), so donations to MassCAP are not tax deductible.