Since the early 1970s, the world of ABA and the application of the principles of ABA have evolved tremendously.
ABA therapy, or Applied Behavior Analysis, has a history that dates back to the early 1900s. Although it wasn’t formally recognized as a form of therapy until the 1940s, its roots can be traced back to work done by Edward Thorndike and B.F. Skinner in the 1920s and 30s.
Thorndike is credited with developing the Law of Effect while working on behaviorism in animals, which stated that connections between behaviors and their consequences could be strengthened or weakened depending on whether those behaviors were rewarded or punished.
This formed the basis for much of ABA therapy today as rewards are used to increase desired behaviors and punishments are used to decrease undesired behaviors.
Skinner further developed Thorndike’s work and focused his research on humans and operant conditioning, which emphasizes the use of reinforcement to increase desired behaviors. He applied it to teaching and parenting in the 1930s and is sometimes referred to as “the father of ABA therapy.”
It wasn’t until the 1940s, however, that O. Ivar Lovaas was able to apply these principles more formally when he began using Skinner’s research in treating children with autism.
He published a book in 1987 called ‘Behavioral Treatment and Normal Educational and Intellectual Functioning in Young Autistic Children’ which detailed his findings on how ABA therapy could be used effectively for those with disabilities.
Today, ABA therapy has become a widely accepted and evidence-based form of treatment for those with autism and other disabilities. It is used to teach skills such as communication, self-care, socialization and academics. Additionally, history of aba therapy timeline has been developed to track the progress in ABA practices over time.
The history of ABA therapy demonstrates how far it has come in both understanding and applying behavioral principles to treating those with developmental disabilities.
From its early beginnings in the 1900s to its current widespread acceptance, thanks to pioneers like Thorndike, Skinner and Lovaas who invented aba therapy, there is no doubt that ABA will continue to be an invaluable tool for helping those with disabilities to lead fuller, happier lives.
ABA therapy was invented by Edward Thorndike, B.F Skinner and O. Ivar Lovaas. Each of them contributed significantly to the history of ABA therapy and its development into a widely accepted form of treatment for those with disabilities.
Thorndike developed the Law of Effect and laid the foundation for much of ABA therapy today. Skinner furthered Thorndike's work and focused his research on humans and operant conditioning which emphasizes reinforcement to increase desired behaviors.
Finally, Lovaas was able to formalize these principles when he began using Skinner’s research in treating children with autism, ultimately leading to the widespread acceptance that ABA enjoys today.