Myth #1: ABA IS EXPERIMENTAL
The truth is that ABA, or Applied Behavioral Analysis, is a research based, scientifically proven teaching method.
It is the only treatment recommended by the United States Surgeon General and the Food and Drug Administration. Since the 1960’s, ABA therapy has been used to help children with autism and related developmental disorders.
Myth #2: ABA TEACHES ROBOTIC LANGUAGE
The truth is that ABA breaks down language skills, by teaching language piece-by-piece and having students practice until they know it by heart.
Have you ever learned a foreign language (let’s pick French), or watched someone else learn English? When you’re first learning, you do sound rote, forced, unnatural, and you also feel the strain of trying to come up with the right words and keep up with a conversation. With time and practice, your speech both comes more easily and sounds more natural.
Myth #3: ABA USES BRIBES
The truth is that ABA uses positive reinforcement to increase the likelihood that a particular behavior will occur again.
In other words, ABA practice shapes the events that happen directly AFTER a desired behavior, thus improving the chance that behavior will occur again. A big distinction is that a bribe stops a negative behavior (ie: If you stop crying, I will give you a cookie). Reinforcement increases a positive behavior (ie: asking for a snack without yelling).
Myth #4: ABA MEANS TABLE WORK
The truth is that Positive Reinforcement ABA Staff strives to teach in a natural environment.
Depending on the specific needs of the student, table work may be an important element of an ABA session, but it is certainly not the only piece to a good program, and isn’t always used. For example, if a student needs to learn how to eat at a restaurant, his ABA programming will include practicing the necessary skills at a restaurant.
Therapists may teach preliminary skills, like how to read a menu, in a more traditional venue, but skills are not considered “mastered” until they can be performed in a real world setting. Certain teaching styles, including discrete trial training, can involve flashcards, rote memorization, and pen-and-paper activities, but these styles are always be used in combination with natural environment practice, and never as the only approach to teaching a skill.
Myth #5: ALL ABA PROGRAMS ARE THE SAME
The truth is that because ABA programs are specifically designed to address the needs of each particular learner. NO TWO ABA PROGRAMS SHOULD EVER BE THE SAME!
Each ABA practitioner begins a case with an intake interview, where he assesses the skills and challenges of each learner. Practitioners then design a curriculum based on those specific needs. Although there are several curriculums practitioners may utilize, the programs chosen for each learner are tailored to his/her unique needs.