Is ABA the same as Positive Behavior Supports (PBS)? Is PBS really that different?
Moving Forward: PBS and ABA
(Matt Tincani, The Behavior Analyst Today, Volume 8, Issue 2)
- "Positive Behavior Support is a new science, evolved from, yet different than, applied behavioranalysis (ABA) (Carr, et al., 2002).
- "Some behavior analysts have argued that PBS is harmful to ABA. One premise of this argument isthat PBS is “unscientific” because PBS interventions have been evaluated with non-rigorous designs such as anecdotal observations" (Johnston et al., 2006).
Is ABA: Educational or Medical?
(Lisa Jo Rudy, About.com, 7/7/2009)
- "ABA is often used to teach academic, social and life skills - none of which are, strictly speaking, medical concerns".
- "ABA does not directly treat medical symptoms sometimes associated with autism, such as motor or mood issues".
- "ABA is often provided by school districts. In fact, many kids with autism are placed in "ABA classrooms".
Is Autism Recovery Possible with ABA?
- "The earlier the diagnosis and the earlier the interventions, the better the outcomes".
- "Indeed, within the mainstream medical community, behavioral intervention is thought of as the "tried-and-true" method for treating autism.
- "The treatment doesn’t treat [autism] itself, it treats the symptoms of the disorder," said Bennett Leventhal, director of the Center for Child Mental Health and Developmental Neuroscience at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago".
- "...The value of interpretive accounts like Verbal Behavior is ultimately determined not by book reviews, hearsay, or descriptions in college textbooks but by the consistency of the interpretation, its conformity to basic scientific principles, and its ability to generate empirical and practical applications" (Schlinger, 2008, 331).
- "When Verbal Behavior was published, Chomsky’s review was one of at least 14 reviews—many of which were positive—that appeared in a variety of journals at the time (Knapp, 1992), although Chomsky’s negative review was seized upon as the definitive rebuttal.2 There are indications, however, that the tide against Verbal Behavior initiated by Chomsky’s review had begun to turn by the 1980s".
Skinner, B. F. (1987). Controversy? In S. Modgil & C. Modgil (Eds.), B. F. Skinner: Consensus
and controversy (pp. 11-12). New York: Falmer.
- "Verbal Behavior is an interpretation of the behavior of the speaker, given the contingencies of reinforcement maintained by the community. It uses principles drawn from the experimental analysis of nonverbal behavior—and nothing else. So far as I am concerned, the only question is whether the interpretation is adequate, but that is not the question raised by the supposed controversy. Those who want to analyze language as the expression of ideas, the transmission of information, or the communication of meaning naturally employ different concepts. Whether they work better is a question, but is it a controversy?" (1987, p. 11)
(ASAT, Board of Directors)
- "...a review of the past few years of Autism Research Review International (ARRI) reveals a consistent pattern of premature and uncritical promotion of treatment “breakthroughs” in the absence of credible research support. A number of scientific reviewers have concluded that many of those treatments have proved ineffective or harmful. The research that appears to support several other treatments is methodologically weak, and still others have yet to be evaluated carefully."
- "Facilitated Communication (FC) was initially given positive coverage in ARRI, which helped spur its widespread, uncritical adoption. Data from numerous controlled studies showing that people with disabilities were not the ones communicating through FC, and reports of families destroyed by false allegations made through FC, were eventually reported in ARRI. By that time, however, hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars and uncounted hours had been spent on FC instead of on safe, effective, validated methods for teaching people with autism to communicate for themselves."
- "Auditory integration training (AIT) has been strongly endorsed in the pages of ARRI over the past several years. In contrast, The American Academy of Audiology (1993) and The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (1994) issued a policy statement and technical report, respectively, to the effect that AIT lacked scientific validity and had potential negative side effects, including hearing loss. In August 1998, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared that “...as yet there are no good controlled studies to support its use,” and further noted that, “Although AIT practitioners declare the technique to be safe, there is some information about both the quality control characteristics of the equipment used and potentially unsafe sound levels produced by it."
- "Sensory integration therapy has also been promoted in ARRI, although careful scrutiny of the research on this popular intervention has consistently failed to uncover any sound scientific evidence that it produces meaningful outcomes for people with autism or other developmental disorders .This was the conclusion of both the NYSDOH and the Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities (MADSEC) review panels; in fact, the NYSDOH literature search found 29 articles on the use of sensory integration therapy, none of which met criteria for adequate evidence of efficacy. Readers are also referred to articles on sensory integration therapy in this issue of Science in Autism Treatment , as well as critical reviews of sensory integration therapy by Arendt, MacLean, and Baumeister (1988), and Shore (1994)".
- "Nor is ASAT an “ABA only” organization. On the contrary, many of the parents and professionals on ASAT’s Board would like nothing better than to find an effective alternative to the hard, expensive, and time-consuming work entailed in ABA programming. ASAT ’ s Advisory Board draws from a variety of disciplines in the biological and behavioral sciences. Our values statement clearly stipulates that A S AT will support any treatment that is shown to be effective or promising in methodologically rigorous studies–not in speculative articles, or testimonials, or surveys, or opinion polls."
What Do we mean by ABA?
How we define things is VERY important, and definitions of ABA vary greatly...
- "Definitions of ABA vary greatly, as do practices that fall under the heading of ABA. Dr. Laura Schreibman, a highly respected contemporary ABA researcher and practitioner, recently stated that “Technically, applied behavioral analysis is not a treatment for autism, it is a research methodology” (Schreibman, 2007)...ABA services, makes it difficult to discern what is meant when reference is made to ABA as a treatment approach" (Barry Prizant, Spring 2009).
"The range of practices under the heading of ABA has evolved over the past 30 years and now varies from traditional practices to contemporary practices" (Prizant & Wetherby, 1998; 2005).
"Applied behavior analysis (ABA) comprises interventions obtained from the principles of behavior analysis designed to analyze and change behavior in a precisely measurable and accountable manner. It employs strategies based on scientific principles of behavior that are designed to build socially useful repertoires and reduce problematic ones. The defining assumption of ABA is that behavior is learned and controlled by contingencies within the environment". (Autism Connect)
"As parents and professionals collaborate in developing comprehensive educational programs for children with autism, discussion often leads to the merits of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Applied Behavior Analysis is a branch of behavioral psychology applying what is learned from the analysis of behavior to understanding the functional relationship between behavior and conditions. Confusion often arises with discussion of ABA because a variety of strategies are based on the principles of ABA. Adding to the confusion, some advocates define ABA in terms of a single instructional strategy (e.g., Discrete Trial teaching), while others use the term to classify a wide range of strategies". (Caroline Gomez, Ph.D., Auburn University Autism Center)
"ABA includes a group of highly utilitarian strategies including Incidental Teaching (IT), Visual Strategies (VS), and the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), among others. Incidental teaching takes place in natural settings with the teacher generally following children's interests to take advantage of and create teaching opportunities. However, there are times when it is necessary for the teacher to prompt for a desired response. At that point, the instruction becomes adult directed. In addition, teachers arrange antecedents and control access to reinforcers in typical IT settings. Therefore, the difference between IT and DT teaching, particularly when teaching communication skills, may not be as substantial as some have suggested". (Caroline Gomez, Ph.D., Auburn University Autism Center)