Chronological Age/ Developmental Age

Chronological Age/ Developmental Age– Chronological age is the actual age calculated by a person’s birthdate. A developmental age is based on level of functioning/cognitive ability, and adaptive skills. For example, a child can have a chronological age of 12; however, an assessment can suggest that her developmental age is of a 4 year-old.



Chaining (a.k.a. Behavior Chaining)– Used to teach complex skills that comprise of numerous steps. To teach, each step is identified first then taught until mastery. Chaining can be either done by backward, forward, or total task analyses with each type having its pros and cons.

Bio- Medical Approach

Bio- Medical Approach- This approach to treating Autism is based on addressing possible biological causes of, or issues associated with Autism, such as heavy metals or an over growth of yeast, or some form of inability to process types of foods. These approaches currently lack empirical evidence regarding their effectiveness.

Behavior Contrast

Behavior Contrast – This term is used to describe a situation in which a behavior may occur differently given two different situations.  For example, Cindy bites her nails so badly that her cuticles start to bleed. Her parents are divorced so she spends one month at a time with either parent. Cindy’s mom scolds her every time she sees Cindy biting her nails, but her dad just “reminds” her to stop doing it when she is with him.  Given this, Cindy’s nail-biting behaviors are less likely to happen when she is with her mom and more so when she is with her dad.

Behavior Chain

This is the term used to label the group of steps necessary to perform a complex behavior. For example, if there are eight steps (behaviors) a person must do to brush his or her teeth, then those eight behaviors are “links” that when done together in the correct order, compose the behavior chain to brush one’s teeth.


Behavior – A behavior must be observable and/or measurable for it to be considered a behavior.


IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. First passed in 1975, the primary purposes of IDEA are to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to children with disabilities and to give parents a voice in their child’s education.



Baseline – How a behavior is before an intervention to either strengthen or weaken that behavior. Knowing the baseline is very important in any ABA program/behavior plan in order to determine the effectiveness of the intervention.


Hyposensitivity – This is the opposite of hypersensitivity in which a person has no or little response from a stimulus.


BCaBA, BCBA, BCBA-D– These certifications are awarded to individuals that have received extra training and/or graduate-level coursework, supervised fieldwork, have passed an examination, and have completed requirements to maintain their credentials.