Common ABA Errors

Common ABA Errors, continued
I may or may not have covered these particular common ABA errors previously but, in case I haven’t, here are some more common ABA errors.
Lack of generalization. Knowledge, to be useful, needs to be demonstrable in many settings. It is difficult to achieve generalization (and, hence, usability) when there is only one instructor, but generalization still needs to be done and, in my experience, often isn’t.

Uncritical acceptance of probe data. Probe data is a snapshot of what the child knows (or, more correctly, can and will demonstrate on demand, from which we infer what he knows). Obviously, you are going to probe any particular skill several times before concluding that what the child produces is representative of what he has mastered, but it is still too easy to incorrectly assume that what you get is respresentative of what the child can produce in any useable (outside of the therapy context) situation.

Choosing an inappropriate mastery criterion. Typically, instructors choose a mastery criterion such as 80% correct on two or three separate occasions across at least two instructors. While that is typically enough to accept that the item has been mastered, the mastery criterion for some items, such as those involving safety, needs to be 100%.

Thinking that achievement of your chosen mastery criterion means mastery of the skill in question. Unfortunately, an item/knowledge/skill isn’t always mastered when your arbitrarily-chose mastery criterion has been reached.

Failure to follow through when working on extinction, i.e., giving in and providing partial reinforcement of behaviour that we want to extinguish – and usually after it escalates! You need to pick your battles and don’t demand anything that you are not willing to ensure that you get (virtually) 100% of the time.

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