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Applied behavior analysis and parenting – tips from a SLP/BCBA

By Rosemarie Griffin

Applied behavior analysis is not just a science that can be utilized to help students with autism or other disabilities. A formal definition of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is that it is a science devoted to the understanding and improvement of human behavior (Cooper, Heron, Heward 2007). In other words, ABA is the science of studying behavior, and applying data supported techniques to increase and/or decrease behaviors that are meaningful to the client and the client’s social environment.  It is a very systematic way to look at human behavior. As a parent, I use the science daily to make my at times chaotic life feel a bit more organized.

So today, I wanted to share some parenting tips and strategies. I am not claiming to be mom of the year, but just a mom who is hanging on and has found some helpful strategies, that I would like to share! I don’t know about you, but I always feel that I could be doing more for my kids!! Practice piano, read daily, get your exercise, eat your veggies, etc…. This inner running dialogue can make anyone feel a tad bit overwhelmed. To help out with homework organization and academics in general, I have file folders for each day of the week. I also have workbooks and curricular materials that are appropriate for my older children. At the start of the week, I put in the appropriate worksheets. So for each day of the week, we have something ready to go. Now some weeks, we don’t do as good with getting to this, but some weeks this works great!!


Another stressor for me and I know a lot of other working moms is DINNER! Can someone please just drop off a delicious 5 star meal at my door at about 6 each evening – thanks!  To combat this, I have created a menu of dinners that are somewhat healthy and that my children will usually eat or at best pick at. I keep this list right in the kitchen on a cute magnet board. If it is right in my line of vision, I will actually reference it when making a grocery list or thinking of what we are going to eat for the week. I picked up this magnet board at a local store, but Amazon has some pretty cool boards too. See this link #affiliate.


One last little tip is all about response effort. It needs to be low or it may never happen, at least in my house! It might look more organized for me to keep my daughter’s hair bows in their rooms in a drawer or in the upstairs bathroom – but that would be way too far!! I keep them right by the door to the garage, that way they can grab and go. No one wants all of those beautiful Jo Jo bows to go to waste- right?!

Okay just a couple tips and strategies that draw on the science of applied behavior analysis. The science is powerful and can do so much for so many. How do you use aba in your life? Leave a comment or send me an email at I would love to hear from you!


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