Three Myths to Dispel About ABA

Many parents seek out ABA therapy because they have been told that it will help their autistic child, but have no idea what to expect. Lauren Rubin published a blog post on the Huffington Post in which she dispelled three common myths about ABA that are circling the internet.

ABA only consists of drilling exercises

Many parents and practitioners assume that ABA is comprised solely of “drilling.” This refers to presenting a request or demand, then receiving a response from the patient followed by a reinforcing stimulus. The process is done repeatedly to help build behaviors.

Although this type of discrete trial training is a part of ABA, other more natural treatments are used:

  • Incidental Teaching involves teaching the language skill of labeling and describing in an adult-child interaction that occurs naturally
  • Pivotal Response Training attempts to increase motivation and teach vital social skills, like allowing the child to choose activities, turn-taking, and reinforcing attempts to respond appropriately

ABA will result in benefits no matter how often the family participates

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board suggests that a comprehensive program range from 20 to 40 hours a week of general interaction, with just a few hours a day of more intensive one on one therapy. Therapy hours will increase or decrease depending on the needs and goals of each child.

While this may seem like a lot, ABA is often done in a natural environment: at home, in the community, or in school. Although it takes dedication, ABA can be incorporated into existing routines.

Parents will see progress right away

Although in some cases progress may be seen immediately, more often it takes weeks or months. This does not mean that the ABA treatment isn’t working.

Studies indicate that autistic preschool-aged children in programs that involve 20 hours a week can see significant improvements in functioning and cognition.


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