True or False?

[ File # csp8317961, License # 1990404 ] Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php) (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / bbbarMy grades throughout high school & college were extremely misleading. See, they made it seem as though school came easy for me. Truth be told, I was one of those nerds that worked myself to death in order to get good grades. Tests and quizzes were never easy for me – I ALWAYS had to study. A lot. True/false questions were one of my least favorite types of questions because I would immediately jump into over-analytic mode when I saw one. As most people know, this is a sure fire way of getting the answer wrong. Despite my distaste for these questions, I will be answering a few of them for you over the next few posts. These questions are easy for me because I am asked to answer them ALL the time, so I’ve become very familiar & knowledgeable about the right answers. All of these questions relate to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Let me pose them to you now so that you can be thinking about your own answers:

True or False…

  1. ABA has only been proven effective with children diagnosed with autism.
  2. ABA is relevant for young children; however, its applications with older children & adults are limited.
  3. ABA is enjoyable & fun for learners.
  4. ABA can result in “robotic” behavior/language.
  5. ABA is a different type of therapy than PECS, Discrete-Trial-Training (DTT), and Verbal Behavior.
  6. The primary benefit of using ABA is to address challenging behaviors.
  7. Anyone with knowledge about autism and/or general experience as a behavior therapist can use ABA techniques effectively.
  8. For children who understand how therapy “works,” ABA is not successful.
  9. ABA can involve strategies that are extremely difficult & time-consuming to implement.
  10. For the most part, all Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) are equally qualified.

As we’ve talked about in many of our posts, questions about different therapeutic approaches can be extremely difficult to answer. The crazy amount of personal opinions and misinformation flying around about ABA makes it almost impossible for a parent to find accurate answers to any of the questions I listed above. Although my answers will obviously draw from my professional experience, my goal is to rely as much as possible on the research literature.

By writing a blog series in this fashion, I hope to discuss, in detail, the concerns that too often keep families and professionals from considering ABA for their child, student, or client. As you will see, many misconceptions keep people from seeking these services despite desperately needing them (and despite more & more easily being able to access them). It is my mission to constantly inform others about the proven benefits and limitations of ABA, as well as the determinants of its effectiveness,  so that families & professionals can make well-educated decisions about when it would be beneficial. I hope you will join me in this journey by commenting on and asking questions about each of the topics posed.

Stay tuned for question #1: True or False – ABA has only been proven effective with children diagnosed with autism. This answer, along with the start of football season, will be coming very soon! 🙂

~Liz