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Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
is based on the idea that by manipulating environmental stimuli surrounding a behavior, that behavior can be shaped and controlled. Those trained in applied behavior analysis use specific principles often in one-on-one and/or small group sessions to both decrease maladaptive behavior as well as increase crucial skills. Success is objectively measured through data collection and data display, thus eliminating individual subjectivity. The principles of ABA include but are not limited to the following: reinforcement, discrete trial training, shaping, chaining, task analysis, generalization, maintenance, prompting and prompt fading, data-based accountability, and functional analysis.

Research has clearly documented the effectiveness of applied behavior analysis methods in the education and treatment of people with autism (e.g., Matson et al., 1996; Smith, 1996; New York Department of Health, 1999; U.S. Surgeon General, 1999).

Children's Care has more ABA certified behavior analysts than any other organization in South Dakota. The following reasons below indicate why this is important:

Applied Behavior Analysis is the design, implementation, and evaluation of environmental modifications to produce socially significant improvements in human behavior. Children's Care forms a circle of support around each child it serves. This support is comprised of specialist in many fields who work together to develop programs, modify the child's environment, and implement programs that will improve the quality of life for that child.

Applied Behavior Analysis includes the use of direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relations between environment and behavior. Children's Care has clinicians trained in ABA who understand that important program decisions must be derived from collecting solid data through ongoing observations and assessments and measuring progress of each child to ensure that they are acquiring the skills needed for functional independence.

Applied Behavior Analysis examines antecedents & consequences, utilizes principles of reinforcement, programs for skill mastery and generalization, and utilizes many other principles of ABA to produce practical change. All programs and strategies at Children's Care are based on sound scientific principles and have a solid research foundation that proves their effectiveness. We want only the best for the children we serve.

For more information on Applied Behavior Analysis, visit the ABA website. Also see ABA's position statement on "The Right to Effective Behavioral Treatment" for individuals with disabilities at

Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Standards for certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) can be found at These include coursework in various areas of applied behavior analysis, a mentored internship under a BCBA, and the ability to pass an examination. Once certification has been achieved, individuals must follow the conduct guidelines (also found on the website) and receive continuing education credits to maintain their certification. An individual's BACB certification status may be verified by going to clicking on "Consumer Information," and then clicking "Registry."

The Posters Below Were Presented at the Interntational ABA Conference by Children's Care staff from Sioux Falls:
Reduction of Aggresion and Self Injury Using Noncontingent Reinforcement and Behavior ContractApplied Behavior Analysis Poster #1

Reduction of Noncommunicative Vocalizations Using Response-Cost and Delayed Response
Applied Behavior Analysis #2

The Use of Functional Communication Training and Differential Reinforcement to Reduce Attention-Maintained Aggression
Applied Behavior Analysis #3


The Posters Below Were Presented at the Heartland Association for Behavior Analysis Conference by Children's Care staff from Sioux Falls:
A Factor in Determining Functional Vocabulary to Increase the Rate of Acquisition
Brough, Johnson

 The Use of Intensive Treatment Strategies to Increase Skill Acquisition and Reduce Maladaptive Behavior in a Self-Contained Special Education Classroom
Knight, Haverly, Beringer, Kreidler

The Effectiveness of Environmental Modificaitons and a Response Cost Token System to Decrease Physical Aggresion


Response-Cost System of Reinforcement Plus DRA in the Treatment of Verbal Aggression

Sonnichsen, Knight

 Reduction in Verbal Refusal and Mild Physical Aggression by Teaching a Conflict Resolution Protocol and Systematic Reinforcement

Groeneweg, Marso

 The Effectiveness of Environmental Modifications to Decrease Problem Behavior and Medication UseBruns, Groeneweg

The ongoing efforts of Children's Care of Sioux Falls and Rapid City to attract and educate staff in Applied Behavior Analysis is of tremendous benefit to our children and their parents. It represents our belief in the practice of evidence based medicine and methods.

"I like to volunteer at Children's Care because I feel like I am able to return something that Children's Care has given to me. I have been a consumer of Children's Care in the past. Everyone here is so flexible and willing to meet my needs."
– Kira J., Volunteer
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