Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

April 27, 2023

Common ABA Myths

Comprehensive ABA services are an integral part of early intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Research shows that children who receive an early diagnosis of ASD and engage in targeted, intensive intervention are more likely to have major long-term positive effects on symptoms and skill acquisition. However, there are many myths out there about this treatment method. Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is an evidence-based intervention that focuses on teaching communication, social skills, and self-care as well as addressing challenging behavior. Comprehensive ABA services address all domains of development and are offered in an intensive format. We recently asked our ABA team to break down some common myths about ABA therapy.

Myth: All ABA programs are the same.

No way! All ABA programs begin with a comprehensive evaluation to determine a child’s skill level and analyze their behavior. Based on assessment, an individualized program is developed. A BCBA will determine what skills to teach, in what sequence, and how to teach them. Every child’s programming is different. RBTs carry out plans made by the BCBA, under their regular guidance. Using this team based structure, helps clients learn using different styles of teaching with different kinds of people.

Myth: ABA only addresses challenging behavior.

While tackling difficult behaviors may be part of an ABA program, it certainly is not the only objective. Comprehensive ABA programs also focus on communication, social skills, and daily living activities. Sessions occur in a variety of settings including home, school, and clinic to support the child in all environments.

Myth: ABA uses bribes and punishment to get kids to behave.

Positive reinforcement all the way! The ethical code for BCBAs even states that providers are required to use positive rewards over punishment procedures. Your child may work for their favorite toys, yummy snacks, technology breaks, or tickles – it all depends on the kiddo. C&FD Behavior Analysts never use physical punishment as a way to influence behavior.

Myth: ABA is boring. They just use flashcards and charts all day.

If ABA were that boring, who would want to do this job? At CFD, all ABA therapy is delivered in a naturalist, play-based manner. Table time is limited to age-appropriate activities such as puzzles or board games. No flash cards or drills here! Our sessions will be engaging, silly, active, and enjoyable for your child.

Myth: ABA cures Autism

We highly value neurodiversity, and embrace the uniqueness of each child’s diagnosis. “Curing Autism” should NEVER be the goal or claim of ABA. The focus of ABA is to teach skills that lead to greater independence, positive social interactions, and meaningful communication.