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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 720–731 | Cite as

Applied Behavior Analysis is a Science and, Therefore, Progressive

  • Justin B. Leaf
  • Ronald Leaf
  • John McEachin
  • Mitchell Taubman
  • Shahla Ala’i-Rosales
  • Robert K. Ross
  • Tristram Smith
  • Mary Jane Weiss
Commentary

Abstract

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a science and, therefore, involves progressive approaches and outcomes. In this commentary we argue that the spirit and the method of science should be maintained in order to avoid reductionist procedures, stifled innovation, and rote, unresponsive protocols that become increasingly removed from meaningful progress for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We describe this approach as progressive. In a progressive approach to ABA, the therapist employs a structured yet flexible process, which is contingent upon and responsive to child progress. We will describe progressive ABA, contrast it to reductionist ABA, and provide rationales for both the substance and intent of ABA as a progressive scientific method for improving conditions of social relevance for individuals with ASD.

Keywords

Applied behavior analysis Behavioral intervention Discrete trial teaching Functional analysis 

Notes

Author Contributions

Justin Leaf conceived of the commentary and participated in the writing of the manuscript. All other authors helped in the design of the commentary and in the writing of various sections.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin B. Leaf
    • 1
  • Ronald Leaf
    • 1
  • John McEachin
    • 1
  • Mitchell Taubman
    • 1
  • Shahla Ala’i-Rosales
    • 2
  • Robert K. Ross
    • 3
  • Tristram Smith
    • 4
  • Mary Jane Weiss
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Autism Partnership FoundationSeal BeachUSA
  2. 2.University of North TexasDentonUSA
  3. 3.Beacon ABA ServicesMilfordUSA
  4. 4.University of Rochester Medical CenterRochesterUSA
  5. 5.Endicott CollegeBeverlyUSA
  6. 6.MelmarkBerwynUSA

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