MYTH: ABA only focuses on deficits or “problem behaviors”.
FACT: ABA focuses on using current strengths and motivation to build new skills.
FACT: ABA makes children robotic.
MYTH: While ABA is a structured approach, it focuses on providing multiple types of learning opportunities and encouraging flexibility and imagination.
MYTH: ABA is just kids at a table doing drills for long periods of time.
FACT: While most ABA does include some work at the table, ABA should also include naturalistic teaching in every session.
MYTH: ABA is only for children with autism.
FACT: ABA is a science of human behavior. ABA has been used to do things such as decrease littering outside of a hospital, increase appropriate form in college-level weight-lifters, decrease thumb-sucking in neurotypical children, improve test performance in undergraduate students, and more.
MYTH: ABA relies on the use of aversive techniques.
FACT: ABA focuses on using motivation to create behavior change. In addition, ABA sessions should be fun and engaging!
MYTH: ABA is basically just bribery.
FACT: Bribery is not a part of ABA. Instead, ABA uses reinforcement. Bribery occurs before the desired behavior (“I’ll give you a cookie if you put your shoes on.”) ABA provides reinforcement, which occurs after the desired behavior and should be, if possible, naturalistic (“I love how you put your shoes on. Want a piggy back ride?”)