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District School Board of Niagara
Policy Education Programs and Student Services

D-13 Applied Behaviour Analysis

Date Nov 2022
Review Nov 2027

In accordance with the Ministry of Education, PPM 140 – Incorporating Methods of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Into Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) supports the use of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) instructional practices to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Applied Behaviour Analysis

This approach is based on understanding the underlying function of behaviour, identifying setting events/precipitating factors in the environment, and implementing corresponding positive supports.

ABA uses methods based on scientific principles of learning and behaviour to build useful repertoires of appropriate behaviour and reduce challenging ones. In this approach, the behaviours to be modified are clearly defined for each student and recorded.

The following principles underlie ABA programming:

  • The program must be individualized. Each student's specific profile and pattern of strengths and needs must be analysed to determine concrete learning objectives and teaching methods.
  • Positive reinforcement must be utilized to support students by promoting prosocial behaviour
  • Reliable data must be collected and analysed on an ongoing basis to measure student progress in the acquisition of new behaviours and skills, and to identify skills or behaviours that need to be taught.
  • Transfer and generalization of skills should be emphasized with the goal of increased independence. Each student should be taught to transfer skills acquired in one context to different contexts or settings.

Interventions based on behavioral principles are designed to develop appropriate behavioural strategies to teach new skills and/or replacement skills. Relevant ABA methods must be used to support student transition, where appropriate. Interventions and methods used will be sensitive to the unique student experience and circumstances to ensure that equity, inclusion, and dignity are upheld. Transitions may include: entry to school; transition between activities and settings or classrooms; transitions between grades; moving from school to school or from an outside agency to a school; transition from elementary to secondary school; transition from secondary school to postsecondary destinations and/or the workplace. It is essential that school board staff work with parents and community agencies to plan for a successful transition.

ABA can be used with students of any age, applied in a variety of situations and must be used to support students with ASD. The approach is also beneficial for a broader range of students to develop skills in key areas and to address behaviours that impact participation and engagement. It is also intended to be an approach in which collaboration between parents, schools and community agencies come together to provide consistency in supporting students in the DSBN.