This article by Leanne Page, MEd, BCBA was originally published at bSci21.org.
Dear Behavior BFF, I’ve followed your column for some time and it sounds like the parents have to put in a lot of work up front to use ABA with their own children. So what’s in it for me? Why should I try so hard? Can I expect my kids to behave perfectly all the time?
In life, there are no guarantees. I wish I could make you some promises and 100% guarantees. I cannot. Every child is different. Every person is different. What I CAN give you is this: the only strategies you will find here or with a designation of behavior analysis are those that have been proven time and time again.
If you search for parenting books or resources online, you will find approximately one gazillion. So why turn to behavior analysis parenting help instead of all these others? Because behavior analysis isn’t just tips for parenting. Behavior analysis is the science of behavior.
Behavior analysis is a study of behavior and the ‘tips’ are actually research-based interventions that have been done repeatedly over several decades with any number of different populations. Nothing that I write for you here is my own idea. I wish I had amazing original ideas to help improve behavior! I don’t. What I do have is access to a research base of behavior analytic strategies. I choose to find practical ways to share those strategies with parents.
So what’s the point in going to all the effort to learn about behavior analysis and implement these proven strategies in your own family? If your kids won’t suddenly act ‘perfectly’ all the time, is it worth the time and effort?
Here are some key benefits to using behavior analytic tools as a parent:
Using the principles of ABA as a parent will not give you a picture perfect family of children who never misbehave. It will give you the consistency and support to increase the positives in your home! So what have you got to lose?
Don’t take my word for it. Learn more about the history of ABA and its effectiveness. Below is just a drop in the bucket of all the research out there, but an easy starting place.
Association of Professional Behavior Analysts. (2017). Identifying Applied Behavior Analysis interventions. San Diego, California: APBA.
Cooper, J., Heron, T., & Heward, W. (2007). Basic concepts in Applied Behavior Analysis (2nd ed., pp. 40-41). Columbus: Pearson.
Dunne, J. D. (2010). Behavior Analysis: No defense required. Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education, 6, 1-13.
Skinner, B. F. (1978). About behaviorism. New York: Vintage.
Sulzer-Azaroff, B., & Mayer, G. R. (1991). Behavior analysis for lasting change. Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Walsh, M. B. (2011). The top 10 reasons children with autism deserve ABA. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 4(1), 72–79. http://doi.org/10.1007/BF03391777
Leanne Page, MEd, BCBA