Five Books Every Applied Behavior Analyst Should Read

Books for Applied Behavior Analysts

  • Science and Human Behavior
  • Meaningful Differences Between the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children
  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • No More Meltdowns
  • Social Skills Training for Children with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism

Books for applied behavior analysts range from academic texts to approachable paperbacks designed for parents. Because applied behavior analysis (ABA) has been adapted for use within programs that can be implemented at home or by the paraprofessional, analysts should understand both the scientific underpinnings and theory of ABA as well as the ways in which it is most commonly practiced in today’s mental health landscape. This list provides a solid foundation for both.

1. Science and Human Behavior

Science and Human Behavior by B.F. Skinner is a classic text that every applied behavior analyst should read. Although the theories of behaviorism have changed significantly, Skinner’s exploration asks the fundamental questions about the intersections between human and scientific thought that are still in play today. Modern-day readers of Skinner, whether they agree or disagree with the main arguments, will find their understanding challenged and deepened.

2. Meaningful Differences Between the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children

Betty Hart and Todd Risley’s exploration of economic inequality within the experiences of pre-school and elementary aged children in the United States provides a crucial window into the differing needs of clients. Applied behavior analysts, like other mental health professionals, must understand the systemic elements of their client’s experience in order to effectively advocate and provide services for different populations.

3. Applied Behavior Analysis

A collaboration between John O. Cooper, William C. Leward, and Timothy E. Heron, Applied Behavior Analysis is a comprehensive guide to the tenants, theories, histories, and treatment models within ABA. While the textbook format may make it difficult to read from start to finish, this is a helpful book to keep on the shelf for referencing various theories or treatment strategies for a client.

4. No More Meltdowns

No More Meltdowns is written by Jed Baker and Carol Kranowitz who combine their professional and personal experiences to create a guide for parents who are struggling to cope with their child’s tantrums. This easy-to-read book breaks down components of ABA to make them accessible for people outside of the mental health field. Applied Behavior Analysts should read No More Meltdowns to gain an empathetic understanding of child and parent dynamics within behavioral disorders. In the book, Baker presents a four-step model for addressing tantrums and behavioral problems.

5. Social Skills Training for Children with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism

In her book, Susan Williams White uses ABA and other treatment models to discuss the development of social skills for high functioning children with Asperger Syndrome or Autism. ABA has gained recognition as one of the most effective interventions for adults and children with autism. According to the organization Autism Speaks, the use of ABA can positively encourage learning and development for people on the autism spectrum by altering their environment or using rewards. White’s book builds on these concepts to present practical interventions for care-providers.

These books are a solid start to an analyst’s library. To stay current and competitive in their field, analysts should take advantage of the many self-educational opportunities offered by books for applied behavior analysts.

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