Common myths and misconceptions about ABA

colorful question marks written reminder

Myth 1: ABA is going to turn my child into a ‘robot’.

誤解1: ABA將會把我的孩子訓練成"機械人"

Behavioural rigidity is one of the characteristics of a child with ASD. When it comes to teaching a program or concept, the responses may be very simplistic at first e.g. ‘What’s your name?’ ‘John’. ABA then overcomes this rigidity by using many different examples to build on this response and transfer it to naturalistic settings. E.g. having someone else to ask ‘What’s your name?’ Or use  a different way of asking ‘Your name is_____.’, ‘How would you like to be called?’. We also emphasis children's ability in expressing their desires and preferences through communication and let their personality shine through.

患有自閉症譜系障礙的兒童行為和言語普遍較為刻板及固化。所以, 當涉及教學一個概念時,兒童初期回應可能會比較簡單。例如 「你叫什麼名字?」「約翰」。及後,ABA會通過使用許多不同的例子來克服這種重覆性,以此為基礎並將其轉移到日常生活環境中。 例如用不同的方式問「你的名字是_____。」,「你想怎麼被稱呼?」。與此同時, 我們亦注重教導兒童在溝通中表達他們的意願和喜好,讓他們展現自己的個性。



Myth 2: ABA uses bribes (e.g. toys or food) to manipulate behaviour
誤解2: ABA以玩具或食物收買孩子來操控行為

There is a difference between bribes and the use of reinforcers. Bribes are statements such as ‘Here is candy, finish your homework’ are made before the person engages in the behaviour and often recruits negotiations. Furthermore, bribes are related to immoral and illegal behaviour. However, reinforcers are delivered only AFTER person COMPLETES the behaviour and specifically to increase the future occurrence of that behaviour, such as ‘You finish your homework nicely, you can have candy.’ Reinforcers such as food and toys are particularly important for a young learner that does not have intrinsic motivation to do an activity or language skills to request for certain items. This may be used at the start of ABA therapy but therapists will start pairing the food or toys with more natural reinforcers such as social praise over time and the use of food and toys will naturally be reduced. 

「收買」和「獎勵」在意義和執行上存在極大的差異。收買的例子是「我給你糖果,那你去完成你的課堂作業」之類的陳述,是在開始行為之前提出的條件交換,容易變成談判,是不道德的。 然而,強化是在完成行為之後給予獎勵,透過正面獎勵增加好行為在未來發生的機會,例如「你的作業寫得非常好,這糖果給你做獎勵。」學習動機對年幼孩子尤為重要,但年幼的孩子通常還未有內在動機去學習,而食物和玩具能為孩子帶來巨大的學習動機。 這會在ABA治療的初期使用,但治療師將會逐漸將食物或玩具與更自然的獎勵配對引導,隨著時間推移,讓讚賞和鼓勵的作用增加,逐漸減少食物和玩具的使用。

Myth 3: ABA uses physical punishment
誤解3: ABA 使用體罰

NO! ABA therapy programs do not use physical punishment. ‘Punishment’ in ABA language simply means the opposite of ‘reinforcement’, which is strategies to decrease a behaviour such as ignoring a child when they throw tantrum or engage in inappropriate attention seeking behaviours. ABA therapy also requires that ALL reinforcement interventions are exhausted before considering the use of punishment procedures. 

絕對不會! ABA治療計劃絕不使用體罰。 ABA中的「懲罰」僅僅意味著與“加強”相反,“懲罰”是一種減少行為的策略,例如當孩子發脾氣或以不適當的方式尋求注意力時,作為成人我們可以不給予孩子注意力,以減少問題行為。 在考慮懲罰的干預方法前,ABA治療必須先嘗試一切加強方式,而沒有效用時才可以考慮使用。

Myth 4: ABA therapy is only table-work

Discrete trial training is done at the table-top to teach basic concepts. However, ABA therapy is not restricted to one environment and definitely shouldn’t be. Once basic concepts are mastered, we move onto other locations to provide the opportunity for the child to demonstrate the skills in a new setting and with other people. Incidental teaching and Naturalistic Environment Teaching is a big part of ABA therapy too. These places emphasis on learning through play or when completing certain activities.

單一嘗試教學法的確在桌上進行以教授基本的知識。 然而,ABA治療法並不局限於一種環境。 一旦掌握了基本概念,我們就會轉移到其他學習環境,使孩子在不同環境中與面對不同人時可以展現課堂學習到的技能。 情境教學和自然環境教學著重寓學習於遊戲和活動,是ABA治療的重要組成部分。 

Myth 5: ABA program is a one-size-fits-all program

This is absolutely not true and in the practice of ABA, every child is different in terms of their history, family life, relationships, social skills, language skills, likes and dislikes. Therefore all children that come into ABLE have to undergo an assessment such that the therapy plan is customised to each child to work on their unique strengths and weaknesses. Their progress on programs are analysed from their data collection after every session and necessary changes to programs are then made. Our goal is to be able to find a method of learning that suits the child and also equip them with skills to adapt to other people’s teaching methods, as with school settings. 

這絕對不是正確的,在實踐ABA的過程中,需要考慮每個孩子不同的經歷,家庭生活,人際關係,社交技巧,語言技能,喜歡和不喜歡的事件。 因此,所有進入ABLE的兒童都必須先接受評估,為每個孩子定制一套屬於自己的治療計劃,以便他們發揮自己獨特的優點和改善他們的弱點。 我們會從他們每次上課中收集學習數據以分析他們的學習進展,然後對治療計劃進行調整和更改。 我們的目標是能夠找到適合孩子的學習方法,並使他們具備適應不同教學方法的技能,正如跟學校設置一樣。

Reference 參考:

Vietze P. & Laz, L. E. (2018). Early intervention ABA for Toddlers with ASD: Effect of Age and Amount. Current Psychology. 


Lovaas, O. I. , & Smith, T. (1988). Intensive behavioral treatment for young autistic children. In B. B. Lahey & A. E. Kazdin (Eds.), Advances in clinical child psychology, 1988


Turner, L.M; Stone, W. L. (2007) . Varaibility in outcome for children with an ASD diagnosis at age 2. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48, 793-802

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