The 7 Dimensions of ABA

This is one of the first things I came across in my more formal study of ABA, however I didn’t really pay too much attention until I did a little bit more further study for my BCBA.

The entire article is from quite a while ago, and is cited at the bottom of this article, however I have found thisΒ link to be quite useful in surmising the information.

In this blog today, I just want to discuss a little bit about each dimension and why I feel it is important in the work that I do. I think this is particularly relevant, and good timing for me to revise, as I am aiming to complete another subject towards my BCBA next month.

Study tip # 1 – I use the mnemonic ‘GET A CAB’ to label the 7 items πŸ˜€

Applied – the work we do, needs to be of socially, significant importance. That is, it needs to be relevant to the individual and make a change that will impact and make their life, and the people surrounding them lives, better. This is were person centered planning, family centered planning, quality of life, and individualised programs come into play. Not to mention, ideas related to inclusion and accessing the local community, and in Australia, the NDIS, having an effect. It is a nice aspect of ABA, and provides the underpinning for meaningful services and interventions.

Behavioural – we are concerned with the observable. All behaviour is observable and measurable (until we get to private events, which I am not even going to begin to try and understand on here)! However, if we have clear, objective, observable and measurable behaviour, we can collect meaningful data, create interventions and test to see whether those interventions make a difference, and prove the effectiveness of what we have done.

Analytical – this is the part I feel I have the least experience in. I think, indirectly, I can be quite analytical in the work I do, however, I often struggle to have the time, or correct guidance to implement potential treatment plans and validate their analytical value. It requires manipulating antecedents and consequences to bring about (or decrease) a particular behaviour. I think I do a lot of the manipulating to decrease and then once the behaviour is decreased, we are all pretty happy so it is all good, however I wonder if we were able to control and manipulate further, and produce some sort of experimental design, we may gather further information about the behaviour and what is mantaining it over longer periods of time? Anyway … food for thought for another day.

Generality – this is such an important dimension. What is the point of doing what we do, if it only works in one place? Or with one person? Or with one material? Or only at a certain time of day? We need to ensure that was we do in one particular set up, can be generalised and maintained to another environment, person, object etc. This is definitely an area where I find it is often very hard to generalise and replicate educational based research and interventions from research, to classroom practice. I don’t really have any great ideas for how to go about making this easier, I just want it to be easier πŸ™‚

Conceptual – This dimension focuses on the need for techniques and interventions being related to some sort of theoretical base, and with applied behaviour analysis, that is definitely the case with a lot of the strategies used. In regards to the way this is used in ABA, it makes for more meaningful and effective interventions – they are not just being pulled out of nowhere, there is already some semblance of reasoning there.

Technological – this notion is similar to generality, in the sense of we want things to be expanded on, however it directly relates to specific components of ABA being replicable, particularly with research. If what you have done, has worked so well, then I should be able to a) understand how you did it, through your extremely detailed research and b) replicate your study and achieve similar results. This is something I hope to be able to do one day soon, and I apologise to all those poster presenters at conferences, whom I judged harshly and thought “Pft, I already knew that, do something new!” But this is an important aspect as it builds on research already about there, and provides first time researchers, a starting point πŸ˜›

Effective – save the best for last! Of course, why would we do all this, if it wasn’t effective. We constantly take data on what we are doing, and this is something I have stressed to many people I have worked with over the years, so we can see if what we are doing, is working. And if it is not working, then we can review and see what we need to change, and where, so that we can ensure we are not spending time, money and resources on something that is not working. Although, by using strategies and techniques with many, many years research behind them, we should hopefully be on the right track to start with … but as it will be evidenced in my soon to come science post, we need to constantly be checking in on ourselves and evaluating what we are doing.

This was actually a really good refresher for getting back into study!



Cooper, J., Heron, E., & Heward, W. (2007). Applied Behaviour Analysis Second Edition

Baer, D.M., Wolf, M.M., & Risley, T.R. (1968).Β Some current dimensions of applied behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1, 91-97.

Behavior Analysis Association of Michigan – Seven Dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis

The 7 Dimensions of ABA

Where do I begin?

The entire development and creation of ‘Great Start Educational Services’ has been a long time coming. It has something that has been at the back of my mind for many, many years. I kept a journal through everything I have done to help remind myself of what I want to do, and how to get there, and even though I still have a way to go, I know I am on the right track.

I honestly love what I do. I know I am very lucky to be in a job where I do love doing everything I do. I love the concepts, and the ideas of behaviourism. I love how I can look at any situation and know that I have a variety of tools and strategies at my disposal to use. I love working with passionate, like-minded people. I love learning new things, and finding out new things, and attending conferences, reading research, even just having conversations with people about a range of different topics that I am passionate about.

But I guess the main thing I love the most about my job, and what I thought would be a most appropriate first ‘official’ blog post, would be the families that I have worked with over the years.

I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to be a part of so many different families lives, and to help support them through different (and most often difficult) stages of their lives. I have worked with some amazing kids, and even more amazing Mums, Dads, siblings, Grandparents, teachers, Speechies, OT’s psychs, Pediatricians … the list goes on!

I love being able to be there for a family when they are unsure what to do, or how to tackle something. I love being able to teach new skills to kids, and see them get it, when it finally clicks!

This feeling is the same for all the kids and families I know. From the very first kids I worked with many, many years ago, up until all the families and kids I still meet today. Knowing them, and being a part of their lives in some way, shape, or form, has definitely shaped me into not only the person I am in my working life today, but the person I am in general.

So thank-you! I feel so lucky to know all of you πŸ™‚

My aim for this blog is to be a (hopefully!) regular blog where I can post things I have found, different teaching ideas, interesting information, to help spread the word and share information about behaviourism.

Where do I begin?