ABA Glossary

With our blog posts being behavior analytic in content and scope, it only made sense to put together an ABA glossary of terms we have used.

With a great line up of content coming out in 2021, we will be sure to add to the glossary so all the terms and definitions are ready at your fingertips!

ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis): a data-driven and evidence-based science of behavior
Antecedent: stimuli existing or changing before a behavior of interest
BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan): using the observations from a functional assessment, a plan that is function-based and focus on positive replacement behaviors and skills that can replace the targeted negative behavior when possible
Also: behavior protocol, behavior treatment plan
BST (Behavioral Skills Training): a training package model that includes instruction, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback  
Behavioral Momentum: one effect of the high-probability request sequence; client responding is repeated at a quick and consistent rate
Chaining: a tool for teaching larger, complex skills; teaching one step in the sequence at a time  
Consequence: what happens after a behaviour of interest  
DTT (Discrete Trial Training): method of teaching where there is a clear beginning and end to each presentation
Note: 3 parts of DTT include the presentation, response, and consequence  
DI (Direct Instruction): evidence-based teaching approach using lessons created around small learning increments and clear instruction  
Differential Reinforcement: reinforcement is provided contingent on the target behavior, reinforcement is not provided under those conditions if the target behavior does not occur

Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior (DRA): providing reinforcement for a predetermined alternative behavior while withholding reinforcement for the unwanted response
Differential Reinforcement of Diminishing Rates (DRD): providing reinforcement dependent upon the number of responses meeting or being below a predetermined limit during a specified time frame
Differential Reinforcement of High Rates of Behavior (DRH): providing reinforcement dependent on the responses meeting or being above a predetermined limit during a specified time frame
Differential Reinforcement of Incompatible Behaviors (DRI): a type of DRA; the alternative behavior is one that is incompatible with the unwanted behavior – they cannot occur at the same time
Differential Reinforcement of Low Rates of Behavior (DRL): providing reinforcement dependent on the response occurring after a specified time frame with no occurrences
Differential Reinforcement of Other Behaviors (DRO): providing reinforcement for the non-occurrence of the unwanted behavior Differential Reinforcement of Paced Responding (DRP): providing reinforcement for behavior occurring within a minimum and maximum time limit  
Echoic: a verbal operant; point-to-point similarity with a verbal model; repeating what is heard  
Expressive: part of language acquisition that indicates how much a learner can express (does not need to be vocal language)  
FBA (Functional Behavioral Assessment): an assessment to determine the function of a target behavior (or behaviors)  
FCT (Functional Communication Training): a method of teaching expressive communication to get needs met  
Graduated Guidance: a system of gradually and systematically reducing physical prompts  
High-Probability Request Sequence: an antecedent intervention; high-probability tasks are presented before a low-probability task is presented
IBI (Intensive Behavioral Intervention): based on the principles of ABA, involving higher intensity of one-to-one treatment involving 20-40 hours a week of therapy
Note: Not all ABA is IBI, but all IBI is ABA  
Intraverbal: a verbal operant; complex part of speech; ability to respond to a question  
Mand: a verbal operant; requesting  
MTS (Momentary Time Sampling): a sample of the defined behavior in the exact instant you are taking data
Process: observer would define the interval of time, and look up at the end of the interval to record whether the target behavior was occurring or not
NET (Natural Environment Teaching): a method of teaching where skills are taught or generalized within the natural environment  
PRT (Pivotal Response Training): based on the principles of ABA; a method of teaching where pivotal behavioral skills are targeted for behavioral improvements
Note: Pivotal areas include motivation, response to multiple cues, self-management, initiation of social interactions  
Priming: an antecedent strategy; a method used prior to the event to set the stage for a desired response, or to reduce the likelihood of a challenging response  
Partial Interval: a method of data collection; recording where a behavior occurs or does not occur during a specific interval; it does not have to occur throughout the entire interval  
Prompt: a strategy used to correct the learner and still increase learning; it is usually placed after the instruction and before the response
Physical Prompt: physically guiding the learner through the response
Model Prompt: showing the learner what to do before they do it
Gestural Prompt: pointing or using other gestures to indicate the correct response as you are presenting the instruction
Verbal Prompt: using vocal cues to indicate the correct response
Visual Prompt: can include texts or pictures; provide visual supports to indicate the correct response
Premack Principle: first/then contingency; a high-probability behavior is made contingent upon a lower-probability behavior, then the lower-probability behavior is more likely to occur
Note: also known as “grandma’s rule”  
Punishment: a consequence that happens after a behavior that serves to reduce the likelihood of that behavior happening again in the future
Positive Punishment: the addition of something that acts to decrease the likelihood of a behavior happening in the future
Negative Punishment: the removal of something that acts to decrease the likelihood of a behavior happening again in the future  
Receptive: part of language acquisition that indicates how much a person understands  
Reinforcement: a consequence that happens after a behavior that serves to increase the likelihood of that behavior happening again in the future  
Positive Reinforcement: the addition of something that acts to increase the likelihood of a behavior happening in the future
Negative Reinforcement: the removal of something that acts to increase the likelihood of a behavior happening in the future  
Shaping: a method used to teach and differentially reinforce gradually closer approximations of a target behavior/skill  
Tact: a verbal operant; labelling or naming; language evoked by an item or picture; speaker comes in to contact with the object  
Task Analysis: a skill broken down into a sequence of small steps  
Verbal Operant: parts of language and communication that includes mand, tact, echoic, intraverbal, listener responding, motor imitation, and visual perception  

Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2019). Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd Edition). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education.

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