ABA Myth vs. Fact

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidenced based therapy for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  However, it is also shrouded in controversy, most often as a result of misconceptions about the treatment.

This page is dedicated to shedding light on the truths and debunking common myths about ABA to help provide clarity and understanding for parents and professionals alike.

Parents discussing ABA myths and facts with their child's therapist

Only children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) need ABA.


In addition to individuals with ASD, ABA practices and research have shown improved functioning or increased skills across numerous populations and ages.

ABA is also known as Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT).


People often think of DTT when ABA is mentioned; however, DTT is one teaching procedure (of many) based on principles of ABA.

DTT breaks complex skills into smaller units or responses that are taught using specific antecedents and consequences. There are numerous naturalistic teaching approaches based in ABA such as Incidental Teaching, Pivotal Response Training, and Functional Communication Training.

ABA is an evidence-based practice.


One of the hardest decisions as a parent is choosing which approach would be the most beneficial for your child and family. The internet can lead parents down many paths, some of which may be ineffective or potentially harmful.

ABA does not just claim to help: the effects of ABA have been well established in thousands of research studies over the years and published in peer reviewed journals. This means that scientific leaders agree upon the relationship between an intervention and results.

Furthermore, these same effects have been replicated by many other researchers.

ABA is NOT a one size fits all approach.


While we know the principles of ABA are at work in almost every setting, when developing an intervention plan for a client or classroom, goals and treatment recommendations should be individualized based on current skills, deficits, and the environment.

When specifically addressing maladaptive behaviors, treatment plans should include teaching appropriate behaviors that serve the same purpose or function of the maladaptive behavior.

ABA is only needed to treat “problem behavior”.


There is a common misconception that a Board Certified Behavior Analyst is only needed to help in instances of serious problem behavior.

There is a vast body of research demonstrating the use of ABA to teach socially significant behaviors such as recycling, daily living skills, safety practices, academics, social skills, language, etc.

ABA takes place in one-on-one sessions at a table.


Traditionally, learning is an ongoing process that takes place across settings, so why limit ABA teaching sessions to one setting with one teacher?

At The Autism Clinic, learning takes place everywhere: outside on the playground, in small groups, and when playing games with a peer. Each child’s programming includes a schedule of activities with individualized objectives embedded within each activity.

Learn more about ABA Myths vs Facts  HERE

Child high fiving with his BCBA after lunch