What is ABA?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the practice of applying the psychological principles of learning theory in a systematic way to alter behavior in humans or animals. The practice is used extensively in education, healthcare, animal training, and business management. It is particularly prominent in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), for which it is one of the only scientifically valid therapies available. https://www.appliedbehavioranalysisedu.org/what-is-aba/

ABA is currently the most used, evidence-based method of therapy for kiddos with autism. It has a bad rep among a small group of folks who believe it causes PTSD and is inherently cruel to its subjects. I won’t elaborate here because, while I believe there are certainly cases of abuse, it is unappealing to me to throw out ABA altogether. 

If you can find the right provider and therapists, ABA can be very healing.  I get that ABA is not perfect but it should not be thrown out completely.  

I don’t believe anyone has to change.  I am all for allowing children and adults to be exactly who they are and advocating for acceptance of neurodiversity.  But if your child has a desire to “mask” or “pass” or just have the option to float along with NT folks in a way that reflects the social majority, it is cruel to deny them the tools for success.  I plan to gently give my daughters those tools so they can choose how they want to live.

ABA and My Family

While I was lightly educated on what ABA is, it was my daughter’s pediatrician who introduced ABA to me in a more meaningful way. When I was describing my girl’s anxiety, Doctor said that the hardest part of living with ADHD and autism was the debilitating anxiety they produce. And ABA therapy would be the best way for her to manage it.

Since I have two daughters with ASD and a professional background as a School Counselor, Doctor suggested I take the courses to become an ABA therapist. It was the most wonderful suggestion, and made me feel like I had power and agency over ASD in my family’s life.

So then what?

Any ABA bashing will not be tolerated on this forum. It is my place to share my thoughts and I will follow my moral compass to only promote what I believe to be right and truly therapeutic for children and adults. I will go out on a limb and say what I really think: Folks completely against ABA are also probably anti-vaxx and refuse to wear masks during the global pandemic that is COVID-19. It is anti-science at its core. Discussions on vaccines, ABA bashing, and even mask wearing will not be tolerated on mamatineautism.com. Take your ignorance to your own forum.

I believe there are very exceptional cases where folks can’t have vaccines. In the way there are some who can’t wear masks. In the same way that ABA is not a good fit for every person. But those folks are the exception and not the rule. 

Henceforth, these discussions and comments are not welcome here. Please feel free to have a private conversation with me if you want to discuss your exceptionality. But know that it will be met with very little patience and even less willingness to find you credible.

I hope you study and consider ABA for you or your family. It is the evidence-based science that we have right now to offer our folks with autism. Do not give in to the scare tactics that extremists are vomiting all over the autism space. And consult a medical or behavioral health professional regarding your needs.

Cordially, but firmly,

your Mama Tine