Applied Behavior Analysis is often thought of as being equivalent with the phrase “Autism therapy,” however in reality ABA is simply the science of behavior. This science can be used to help teach important skills and reduce behaviors that interfere with learning and daily living. However because ABA applies a fundamental understanding of behavior and motivation it can also be used to manipulate others and has in the past been employed to train individuals with autism to appear “normal”.
It’s critical to understand that this is not the science, but the application of the science that is at fault. At Master ABA we are committed to the ethical use of ABA to help individuals learn in the way they learn best while maintaining and respecting their unique individual characteristics.
Autism, also referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a broad range of neurologically diverse characteristics. The condition impacts different people in different ways making it difficult to describe the condition in one cohesive definition. Many individuals with autism experience difficulty with social interactions, struggle with communication and engage in behaviors that are problematic in some contexts. There are currently 2 diagnostic criteria for autism: impaired social interaction and restricted or repetitive interests but how individuals experience these symptoms can be very different. This post reviews the prevalence, diagnosis and treatment options for autism.
Stereotypies are repetitive behaviors that often occur across conditions (i.e. settings, people, demands, etc.) and are often automatically reinforced. Often these behaviors are used for self-soothing and are an important coping mechanism for the individual. They should not be targeted for reduction unless they interfere with other activities. This post explains when you should intervene with stereotypies.
Although traditional sources say there are 3-4 functions of behavior (access, escape, [attention] and automatic), there is a better way to conceptualize the functions of behavior. This post explains 3 different models to help you better understand function and how it relates to reinforcement.
You may not even be aware, but there is a raging debate over whether ABA is harmful or hurtful. It’s critical that as professionals in ABA we understand both sides of this debate. We must be aware of and responsive to the concerns of those who fear ABA. We must continue to drive the field toward more sensitive, positive practices. This post explains more.