Star Ford

Essays on lots of things since 1989.

Outcomes of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

I’ve been told over and over that ABA is clinically proven and “evidence-based” and I never have found a link to that evidence. If you have it, you can post a comment.

However I did find two sources that give some other interesting results. The first is a large scale longitudinal study by the US DOD, and it shows this:

The graph shows out of about 1,700 people studied, 12% improved over one year on a collection of three measurement instruments, 81% had no change, and 7% worsened. (I don’t know what exactly the instrument measure.)

Full article:

The second source is this peer reviewed article in Cogent Pscyhology: How much compliance is too much compliance: Is long-term ABA therapy abuse? at

The researchers go into detail on how ABA works or doesn’t work, how it can be abusive, and differences in verbal/speaking and nonverbal/nonspeaking children. I believe both studies only surveyed children.