Critical Thinking

1. records whether or not that student does


1.      Define Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Please state in your own words… Do not use quotes.

When I explain Applied Behavioral Analysis to someone, I describe it as interventions and strategies used to be implemented to individuals with behavioral needs. These interventions/strategies are researched and theory centered and are focused on positive reinforcement to improve the individual’s behavior.

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2.      How is ABA different from Behavior Modification? How is ABA different from Discrete Trial Teaching?

Behavior Modification is “a treatment approach, based on the principles of operant conditioning,  that replaces undesirable behaviors with more desirable ones through positive or negative reinforcement” (, 2018). ABA focuses on how the individual learns. Through the six components of ABA, they specify how the intervention is applied, the behavior, demonstration of the intervention, technological, effectiveness, and generality.

Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT) is “a method for individualizing and simplifying instruction to enhance children’s learning…especially useful to teaching new forms of behavior and new discriminations. (Sage Journals, 2001). DTT is a technique that gets broken into components. ABA has six components that must be met. If all of them are not met then it doesn’t fall under the ABA umbrella.


3.      Explain how teachers use ABA without realizing its impact on their day-to-day interactions with their students.

Teachers use ABA without realizing it daily. As a teacher, we use positive reinforcement. After the reinforcement, we observe and analyze how the child reacted to that intervention. If the student improves their behavior, it is noted and the teacher is more likely to use that again. If the student’s behavior changes negatively or does not change at all, the teacher identifies that and will change their reinforcement. “Each time a teacher makes a decision to modify his teaching to help a student better grasp an important concept, and then watches and records whether or not that student does indeed learn the concept, he/she has used applied behavior analysis” (Smith, 2001).

4.      You are consulting in a classroom where the teacher wants to change the “bad attitude” of a student. If you targeted the student’s “bad attitude” would your actions be considered behavior analytic according to Baer et al. (1968) and Boutot & Hume (2012)? Why or why not?

If I were to target a “bad attitude” of a student, my actions would not be considered behavior analytic. A bad attitude does not fall under the ABA “umbrella” and does not consist of the six criteria. “Baer et al, (1968, 1987) recommended that intervention and/or researched based on ABA principles be judged using six criteria. Should these criteria be met, practitioners can determine that the research/treatment is based on the science of ABA (Boutot & Hume, 2012).

5.      What are the 4 common myths cited by Boutot & Hume (2012)? State in your own words one way you might explain one of these myths to a parent or teacher. Make sure you also explain how the myth is inaccurate.  

Here are four common myths cited by Boutot & Hume (2012):

Myth #1: ABA and DTT are the same.

Myth #2: ABA is punishment-based.

Myth #3: ABA must be conducted 40 hours per week.

Myth #4: ABA is clinic-based and lacks generalizability.

Previous studies suggested that there must be 40 hours a week of ABA therapy however that is no longer the case. More recent studies show that approximately 20 hours per week produce the same results. Therefore ABA should be performed approximately 20 hours per week and within the individual’s natural setting. 


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