ABA Terms & Terminology: An Exhaustive List

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More than one million people in the United States are living with autism spectrum disorder. There is a wide range of terms used to describe this condition, and knowing what these words mean can help you better understand how autism affects your loved ones every day. Utilize ABA Terminology to learn about common traits, signs and more!

The “aba terms pdf” is an exhaustive list of the most commonly used terms and definitions for people with autism. This can be a great resource for parents, educators, or anyone who works with individuals on the spectrum.


If you enroll your kid in ABA treatment, you may feel as if you’re learning a new language. Treatments are technical, and doctors often communicate using shorthand. You may use that shorthand in your talks as well.

When your team employs a phrase you don’t understand, speak up. It’s quite OK to seek assistance or clarification.

Look at this glossary as well. You could come upon the answers you seek.


Triggers, such as direct requests and external inputs, cause behaviors. An antecedent is something that causes a behavior to occur.

Common antecedents in ABA treatment include:

  • “Sit on this chair,” for example, are spoken demands.

  • “What color is this?” and similar inquiries.

  • Giving a youngster a toy is an example of physical discipline.

  • A emotion or a short idea might be environmental.


Applied behavior analysis stands for applied behavior analysis. Applied behavioral analysis is another phrase used by certain specialists.

According to Autism Speaks, this is a kind of treatment based on behavior science and understanding of how individuals learn. ABA treatment is used by therapists to:

  • Recognize a child’s actions.

  • Determine how the environment influences a child’s choices.

  • Assist a youngster in learning to replace negative habits with good ones.


According to current research, the ideal name for persons with autism is autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. It includes those with minor disabilities as well as those who need help with daily duties.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every 54 children gets an ASD diagnosis.


ABA is a measured, focused behavior modification and learning strategy. Therapists make meticulous records of their practice and strive to quantify progress. The data collecting process begins with a baseline.

Before starting treatment, a baseline indicates a child’s activities or habits.


When administered by a skilled practitioner, ABA treatment is most effective. The BCaBA accreditation emphasizes the therapist’s ABA foundational coursework.

According to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, someone with this qualification has an undergraduate degree in behavior analysis. That individual is also ABA certified.


A professional with an undergraduate degree is qualified to provide ABA treatment, but a BCBA has even more knowledge. This distinction, according to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, indicates that the individual holds a graduate degree in behavior analysis.


Some professionals pursue further training in ABA. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board awards the BCBA-D title to those who have a doctorate degree and are board certified.


An antecedent is offered to a kid during ABA treatment. A behavior is defined as a child’s response to a provocation, such as:

  • Verbalizing. A word or phrase may be repeated by the kid. Alternatively, the youngster might scream, shriek, laugh, or weep.

  • Mimicking. The youngster may follow instructions or be shown something.

  • Defiance. The youngster may reject or behave inappropriately.

  • Mastery. Before the antecedent is fully given, the youngster may hurry to finish the assignment.

  • There was no response. The antecedent may have no effect on the kid.


Therapy is guided by a behavior Intervention plan, or BIP. The paper outlines behaviors that obstruct the child’s progress and provides a step-by-step plan for eliciting change.

Experts argue that rather than merely mentioning an act, effective BIPs contain remarks regarding why the conduct happened. Outsiders, such as teachers and family members, should be able to use the BIP to understand how to reward positive behaviors and put the kid up for success.


Consider a consequence to be the result of a certain action. These are usually given out by the therapist during ABA sessions, but they may also originate from the environment.

According to experts, a consequence might include:

Experts believe the idea is to look at the outcome and determine whether it raises or lowers the chance of undesirable behavior.


When you are refused access to something, it becomes more appealing to you. Deprivation is founded on this premise.

This tool might be used by an ABA therapist to support a behavior. For example, if the therapist gives a 10-minute break to play, a kid who is reluctant to remain involved in an activity may be more likely to do so. The more the youngster enjoys the play break, the more likely the session will go on effectively.

Discrete trial preparation

Autism Speaks explains that Discrete trial preparation (DTT) and ABA are often used interchangeably. But DTT is actually a type of teaching strategy that can be used with ABA.

DTT is used by teachers to break down a major skill into smaller parts. Each portion is taught individually, and the youngster may eventually grasp the larger job.


To accomplish a task in the early phases of ABA, a child need a reinforcer. A reward, such as food, motivates the kid to take the next step.

Extinction occurs when the youngster can do the job without the reinforcement. It may signify whether a youngster has mastered a task or when they are in an atmosphere where they feel at cheval.


People with ASD may be able to do a job with ease in one context but struggle with it in another. Some persons with ASD, according to the National Autistic Society, get so overloaded with sensory input that they have a total meltdown.

ABA treatment seeks to reduce these instances, and therapists may also assist in encouraging patients to do the same job every time, regardless of where they are. When pupils can execute the same activity in numerous environments, this is referred to as generalization.


An intervention is a behavior modification method. A directive, a reward, a strategy, or a change in the environment might all be examples.

Therapists evaluate the success of therapies so that they may better assist their pupils in the future.

Assessment of Functional Behavior

During Assessment of Functional Behavior (FBA), experts uncover why a child behaves in a specific way. An FBA stems from four steps:

  1. Defining the attitude

  2. Information gathering

  3. Creating an explanation for the reason

  4. Creating a strategy to modify your behavior

If your kid is struggling in the classroom, they may have an FBA conducted at school. An FBA may also be used at the commencement of ABA treatment.


The majority of an ABA treatment session is spent on tasks. A youngster must do a given task in a precise manner, which is then repeated. Each assignment starts with a prompt.

A cue might be a verbal instruction or a physical prompt, such as touch.


A reinforcer is a response to a certain behavior. Positive rewards, such as food or playtime, may encourage a youngster to participate in or finish a task. According to Autism Speaks, these are the foundations of successful ABA treatment.

Therapists and technologists want their patients to enjoy treatment and readily engage. This is made feasible by positive reinforcers.


The registered behavior technician, or RBT, credential was developed by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board for practitioners who carry out treatment plans prepared by autism therapists. Under the supervision of a BCBA or BCaBA, an RBT uses ABA procedures.

An RBT will have a high school diploma as well as ABA training. A BCBA or BCaBA oversees their work.


Some tasks are difficult to understand. A youngster may not be able to accomplish all of the steps at once. It’s possible that the youngster won’t know where to begin. Shaping is when a youngster is rewarded for doing something that is very near to the desired behavior and then given a nudge to do even more.

A therapist could provide vocal support to a youngster who stares at the block, more encouragement if the child touches it, and even more encouragement if the child grasps the block to form taking up a block.

Request clarification

You are an important member of the ABA team as a parent of a kid with autism. When your child’s official sessions are over, you reinforce the learning. You jot down ideas to discuss with the therapist. You can best monitor your child’s development. Your efforts are crucial to your child’s achievement.

Ensure that you understand your child’s plan and progress. If you’re unclear on any element of it, Request clarification. Your therapist will be happy to answer your questions and ensure you’re working together effectively.


The “rbt terms and definitions printable” is an exhaustive list of terms and definitions that are used in the field of autism. It includes information on different types of autism, as well as a glossary.

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