About CABAS and ABA

ABA Certificates Team jigsaw


Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is a well-developed discipline devoted to the understanding and socially significant improvement of human behaviour. It uses scientific, evidence-based principles derived from the natural science of behaviour analysis.

Autism is one of many arenas in which behaviour analysis has been applied successfully. Nearly five decades of research has documented the effectiveness of ABA principles and methods for building a wide range of important skills and reducing inappropriate behaviour in individuals of all ages with an autism spectrum disorder. With emphasis on early and intensive intervention, ABA has been demonstrated to greatly improve the prospects of children with Autism.

ABA provides comprehensive and highy individualised programmes. New skills and behaviours that require intervention are clearly defined and carefully measured by thorough assessment and direct observation.

The programmes teach verbal, cognitive, social and self- help skills. New skills are broken down into smaller tasks which are taught in a highly structured and hierarchical sequence with the focus on positively reinforcing or rewarding desired behaviour and ignoring or discouraging inappropriate behaviour.

Using ABA within the CABAS® framework (CABAS® is an acronym for the Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling and was originated around 40 years ago to develop a science of teaching) also means Jigsaw staff are held to the highest of standards within this sphere of teaching and learning. Teaching is tailored to each individual to be purposeful, meaningful and relevant – it should also be enjoyable, challenging, motivating and fun! Jigsaw believes learning happens best when it is within a safe and caring environment that has been created through knowledge, expertise and understanding.

Jigsaw is fortunate to have one of the UK’s leading behavioural experts as its Director of Education and ABA Consultant; an active Governing Body and Board of Trustees, as well as eminent, visiting consultants in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis from Columbia University, New York and Nicholls State University, Louisiana. Jigsaw is the only fully CABAS® accredited School outside the US.



CABAS stands for the Comprehensive Application of Behaviour Analysis to Schooling and it seeks to develop and expand a learner driven science of teaching for all children.  Goals are to accelerate children’s learning, the ability to learn in new ways, and to acquire the ability to learn independently. It is also as important that children learn to expand their community of reinforcers, or passionate interests, as it is to teach them to do things they could not do without special instruction.

CABAS was developed by R. Douglas Greer PhD and colleagues of Teachers College, Columbia University over 30 years ago and research has shown that over 4-7 times more learning is achieved compared to more traditional approaches to teaching.  We are extremely fortunate to have Dr Greer as our Senior CABAS Consultant and welcome him to Jigsaw twice each year.

Learn more about CABAS in our downloadable ‘What is CABAS?’ leaflet.

The_Unorthodox_Behaviorist – magazine article on Professor Greer and the CABAS model.

The focus of a CABAS curriculum is to increase an individual’s communication skill which is critical as they move to higher levels of independence. Researched procedures to increase communication skills form an integral part of each individual pupil’s curriculum (Greer & Ross, 2008, Greer, 2002).  Visit CABAS website to learn more.

Although there are many therapies, teaching programmes, dietary regimens and other interventions available to families of children with Autism and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), only one has been documented to have produced significant and comprehensive improvements.  That method is a programme of intervention based on the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).  More clinical trial and studies have been conducted using ABA for the treatment of children with Autism than any other method.