Myths vs. Facts about ABA Therapy
This article will address some of the myths and misconceptions about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. ABA aims to increase socially significant behaviors and decrease behaviors that interfere with learning among individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. According to Proven Behavior Solutions, “Socially significant behaviors refer to behaviors that allow the individual to be as successful and independent as possible in their natural environment.” Although ABA is supported by decades of research and thousands of studies, it is often misunderstood and misrepresented. As a result, parents are unable to make an informed decision regarding ABA treatment for their children. This article will attempt to clarify some myths regarding ABA to aid parents in making more informed decisions.
Myths About ABA
Outlined below are four common myths about ABA therapy.
- Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) and Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) only treat children with significant behaviors.
- Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are the only ones who can benefit from ABA.
- ABA is not scientifically proven.
- ABA therapy creates robots. Therapists drill information into kids without actually teaching them anything.
The truth about aba
The experimental branch of behavior analysis began in 1938 with B. F. Skinner’s book, The Behavior of Organisms. In the early 1960s, psychologists started using principles of ABA to teach communication skills, social skills, work skills, and other skills. ABA began to grow in popularity as studies demonstrated its effectiveness when teaching socially significant behaviors to children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Yes, you heard me right; ABA therapy is not just for children with autism! Researchers have even shown that ABA can help children with developmental disorders and typically developing children reduce inappropriate behaviors.
Moreover, ABA is not about sitting at a table drilling information and skills into a child. Children learn different skills through multiple techniques, depending on what works and does not work for the child; individualized instruction is key!
Therapists can also teach in different environments, i.e., in the child’s home, clinic, or school. This type of teaching allows for the child to develop generalization skills. RBTs and BCBAs teach generalization skills so a child can identify different stimuli across different scenes and scenarios. In broad terms, generalization is the ability to use new skills in other settings and with other people. For your child, this means that positive behavior learned at the ABA clinic carries over into contexts other than the training environment.
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