Precision Teaching in ABA Therapy: Explained

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The ABA therapy is used to help children with Autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities. In order for the child’s progress to be as smooth as possible, they must learn how to behave in a certain way while using unique teaching tools like “time out”. The main goal of this form of therapy is not only to teach kids how they should behave, but also reward them when their behavior changes.

Precision teaching in ABA therapy is a technique that was created to teach autistic children. It has been shown to be more effective than other techniques, and it has also been used with students with other disabilities.


Precision teaching is a research-based behavior treatment strategy that may be used in conjunction with applied behavior analysis (ABA).

Behaviors, abilities, and activities are measured for frequency and fluency. A precision teaching therapist will report on the number of times their client tries the skill in a more free-ranging setting that enables the client to decide the pace for learning, rather than reporting on “success” by perfection in the first few efforts at skill acquisition. Both flawless and imperfect efforts are kept track of. These are discussed and encouraged so that the client may improve their abilities.

While precision instruction was created for children with psychosis, ABA therapists may benefit from utilizing Standard Celeration Charts (SCC) to understand the frequency and fluency of new abilities. They may then assess how effectively abilities are maintained and transferred to other situations.

How Does ABA Therapy Work With Precision Teaching?

Behavior therapy, particularly applied behavior analysis, is now the strongest evidence-based technique to treating autistic symptoms (ABA). Long-term treatment programs supporting gains in social, linguistic, cognitive, and even motor function are created using established ideas on how individuals learn and modify their habits.

ABA is particularly effective for persons with autism, especially youngsters. The effect of autism is frequently mitigated when children diagnosed with autism get ABA treatment as they grow older.

There are several varieties of ABA therapy and various different behavioral treatment techniques that may be used in conjunction with ABA therapy to help persons with autism develop adaptive behaviors.

Precision teaching is one strategy for assisting a kid with autism in a specialized learning setting while promoting positive behavioural improvements. Most significantly, precision instruction may track the child’s progress as he or she learns new abilities and applies them repeatedly in this setting.

Precision Education’s History

Free operant conditioning is a kind of precision instruction. This phrase refers to behavioral treatment techniques in which the student directs the learning process, establishing their own pace with little or no constraints imposed by the therapist or instructor on the environment or learning process.

Ogden Lindsley invented this kind of behavioral therapy in the 1950s, and it was first used to help children and adults with psychosis. Lindsley’s attention shifted to special education in 1965, which included behavioral abnormalities in children with autism.

How Does Precision Education Work?

Precision teaching focuses on translating a therapeutic program of learnable activities into quantifiable behavioral change that may be seen immediately. Tasks should be visible motions, or at least be reported as such.

A child with autism who struggles with silent reading, for example, may need to take several observable actions toward a process that is inherently difficult to observe. They may begin by sitting still and reading aloud, but the eventual effect of silent reading is difficult to assess. However, there are techniques to assess the effectiveness of silent reading, such as administering a reading comprehension exam after the kid has finished their reading assignment.

Precision teaching helps with clients to transform their labeling into quantitative changes. A youngster who suffers with motor skills, for example, is a sloppy eater. Rather of attempting to quantify their changes to messiness, the therapist or teacher might watch and report on the measures the kid takes to enhance their physical coordination.

In precision instruction, the frequency of behavioral change is critical. Students have greater discretion over how they engage with their treatment sessions in this technique, but the therapist or instructor keeps track of how frequently they practice key skills. Precision instruction emphasizes the frequency of practicing new actions above the correctness of the first few tries, even if the aim is fluency.

Many children with autism, for example, suffer speech impairments, which may be linked to the developmental problem that causes motor coordination issues. A precision teaching session may guide the child toward correct pronunciation, but it will measure the frequency of each attempt rather than the perfection of the attempts. Fluent actions are remembered longer, implying that the youngster must practice them often.

The Chart of Celebrity

This is the core component of precision teaching, giving it the name precision. The Chart of Celebrity shows either the acceleration or deceleration of behavioral change.

Precision teaching allows teachers and therapists to track both gains and regressions in a child’s behavior. Precision teaching can quantify how effectively specific therapy techniques work to modify behaviors using the Standard Celeration Chart (SCC).

The following are examples of measurable outcomes:

  • Stability refers to a child’s capacity to continue working on a skill despite interruptions.

  • Endurance refers to a child’s capacity to execute a skill or activity for an extended amount of time.

  • Application refers to the child’s capacity to use the talent in different situations, making it more universal.

  • Retention refers to a child’s capacity to sustain a skill via repeated practice.

This kind of charting aids therapists in determining if the treatment plan is effective for the client. The adage in precision instruction is that advancement higher on the SCC demonstrates that the plan works for the client. When a regression or plateau occurs, the program is no longer effective and must be modified. As seen by the facts, the problem is not with the student but with the strategy.

A Supplement to ABA Therapy

Fluency of practice has shown to be one of the most essential criteria incorporated into ABA training via precision instruction for children with autism.

Fluency is the result of repetition, and repetition is essential for every new skill. To become proficient in playing musical instruments, students must practice often. Similarly, children with autism must practice new behaviors such as initiating social contact, utilizing language as much as they are able to communicate with others, and practicing fine motor skills such as writing with a pen.

The therapist will train a kid through the process of precision teaching in ABA treatment for autistic children so that performance is improved in a quantifiable manner via repetition. For example, therapeutic sessions can begin with 10-second sprints. These may rise when the youngster improves at a certain skill or endeavor.

Although ABA treatment is an effective technique for helping persons with autism, the highly organized setting and emphasis on accuracy of newly learned abilities may be counterproductive if that is the only goal. Precision instruction, which enables the child to practice new abilities in an imperfect setting, is an essential addition to the ABA therapist’s toolset.

It’s also critical to give specialized skill training for children with autism, particularly young children, as well as incentives for the adaptive behaviors that are the emphasis of ABA treatment.


ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis. Today’s Psychology

Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment and Intervention Services (2019, September) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a U.S. government agency that (CDC).

A Brief History of Precision Teaching Athabasca University’s Psychology Learning Resources

Concept Definition and Guiding Principles in Precision Teaching Athabasca University’s Psychology Learning Resources

Integrating and Evaluating the Implementation of Various Instructional Approaches in Comprehensive ABA Programs (2005). Association of American Psychologists (APA).

The “precision teaching vs direct instruction” is a debate that is present in the field of ABA therapy. The “precision teaching” takes into account individual differences and focuses on the specific needs of each student. Direct instruction, on the other hand, places students at the same level and teaches them all in one group.

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