What are the top 3 ABA horror stories?

This article will show you what are the top 3 ABA horror stories. It will also explain to you what ABA is, and to who it is recommended.

What are the top 3 ABA horror stories?

If you are wondering what are the top 5 ABA horror stories, here they are.

It is better to be hit by a car

To one client that has been in ABA therapy because of the autism diagnosis, ABA has been hell. This is for many reasons. First, there is a problem with the place in which the therapy takes place. It is a loud place, with a lot of children screaming, and crying, and it is extremely difficult to focus.

And the client has a lot of trouble saying that to their therapists because she has come to realize that her therapists have put all of her behaviors as a symptom of autism. If she complains about the noise, they would tell her that she needs to adjust to it, since anywhere will be noisy.

And it is not only that, ABA has become like a horror movie to her because she feels that her therapists are constantly invalidating how she feels. They tell her that she should make eye contact with people every time, no matter what is being said, but to her, making eye contact can sometimes be uncomfortable, and not because of autism, but because of how she is feeling in the situation.

Sometimes. When she said that something is bothering her they would also tell her that it was scripted, meaning that she is just reverberating something someone has told her before.

Being tagged as the autistic kid, and not knowing when she would be able to get out of ABA became such a nightmare that once, as she was dropped off at the clinic for her session, she had a panic attack and was run over by a car. At that moment, the therapist that was chasing after her, just simply walked away, leaving her to go to the hospital.

ABA was abuse, I saw it with my own eyes

A person with autism diagnosed that when graduated college what to give back to the autism community and decided to work in an ABA clinic. But less than six months after they started at the clinic, they quit. 

After some time, the person came to realize that, when ABA therapy is not done in a good way, it tends to only use the autistic traits of the person to make them accept authority.

A badly done ABA process will also make the person have trouble setting boundaries and lose the autonomy they have over their bodies. What they saw at the clinic was abuse being done with the coverage of making good to children with autism.

During their time at the clinic, they saw a 4-year-old active boy that couldn’t sit and was extremely curious. But in trying to get a word out of him, the professionals would hold him still until he had made a sound that would resemble a word. 

All of that in the hopes that he could go to school in the next school year. This process was so intense that the professional would lie and tell the other that the kid had attempted to say a word, even if he did5, just so he could be released.

After feeling like they were torturing the clients, the person sharing the story decided to quit, even though their bosses kept telling them they were doing a good job. But the idea that this is the type of work they needed to do every day was unacceptable to them.

They told me I was teaching my son to remain helpless

A woman shared a story about ABA therapy as a form of treatment for her blind, autistic son. First, she highlights how, at such a young age, her son experienced more abuse than one should in a lifetime. Being abused by school employees, and bus drivers, and being left without any form of treatment.

After a while, her son had so many meltdowns, and people would tell her that she was enabling his behavior, and just making him constantly act as if he was helpless. All of that because she was making a point of being a nurturing, and caring mother. 

With time, all of this criticism, and the hope to make her son feel better led her to look and accept ABA treatment. That, for her, was the worst that could have happened. What she witnessed was a form of torture with her son.

The professionals made a point showing how everything her son did was wrong. There was no validation of how he was feeling, and they completely disregarded his behaviors as a way of manifesting his emotions. 

It was all so heartbreaking that at some point she decided to try and take him out of the institution he was in. But that wasn’t simple. It was necessary to discuss the matter with the directors of the facility, and show how all of that would bring him more harm than good. 

Once back at home, her son began to heal, and she learned that as a parent she should never be bullied over accepting a form of treatment for her children with which she is not comfortable.

What is ABA? 

ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis, and it is a form of therapy that focuses on learning, and behavior. Through it, it is possible to understand how behavior works, how it is affected by the environment, and how learning happens.

 The main goal of ABA therapy is to make behaviors that are helpful happen more often and decrease the frequency of the ones that are not helpful or even harmful.

It is a flexible form of treatment that can be adjusted to each client’s needs. It can also be performed in many settings, be it in the therapist’s office, hospital, or even school. One of the most important things in ABA is positive reinforcement.

This means that whenever the client acts in a way that is seen as positive, they are given a reward. With that, the person will likely repeat this behavior, causing them to change how they behave in their everyday life.

Another important aspect of ABA therapy is understanding the antecedent and the consequence of the behavior that the person is looking to change. 

The antecedent is what happens right before that targeted behavior, it can be something that is said, an object, or even something in the person’s environment that causes the person to behave in that determined way.

As for the consequence, it is what comes after the behavior, be it the positive reinforcement, or even no reaction when the person has behaved incorrectly or inappropriately. This helps the person, and the therapist determines what is bringing the person to behave that way, and how consequences could change if they behaved differently.

But even with all this understanding, each ABA therapy process needs to be outlined to attend to each client’s needs. That is why the first thing that will be done is an assessment of the person’s skills, and what are their goals. In some cases, depending on what is being treated, the family of the client will also take part in the treatment.

Who is ABA recommended to? 

ABA therapy can be recommended to people with various conditions. It is often used to help clients that have been diagnosed with autism since it can give them a concrete goal and way to manage their behavior. 

But its techniques can also be seen in educational environments, or even in hospital settings when a patient is experiencing a condition that is changing the way they behave.

Aside from that, ABA can be used to help people that deal with other mental health issues such as depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD), and people that deal with fears, phobias, anger issues, and even anxiety disorders. It can also be used in the business context, in which companies may use the ABA theory to help keep their employees motivated.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What are the top 3 ABA horror stories? 

Is ABA therapy always negative?

No, ABA is a scientifically proven method to help people mold their behaviors into more positive ones. But since it has become known by the general public, people may have been trying to take advantage of the momentum, and some may be offering this type of treatment without proper training.

It is also possible, as with any type of therapy, that ABA won’t suit a person, since it tends to be a process that is more connected to the behavior than understanding the root behind it. When that is the case, it is encouraged that the client looks for other lines of treatment that would better suit their needs. 

How effective is ABA therapy?

Mostly Aba therapy is suggested to people that have been diagnosed with autism. So there is much research that shows how effective this form of treatment is, for people with that diagnosis. That it is known that while going through ABA around 90% of children will make important improvements.

Is ABA unethical?

There are people, especially adults that have autism and have been submitted to ABA treatment in some periods of their lives that consider it to be unethical. That is because they understand that the ABA therapy process may often force the autistic child to do things even when they don’t want to, or feel that doing it would harm them.

Are 20 hours of ABA enough for small children?

The treatment plan for a child with autism that will go through ABA will often be defined by the professionals caring for them. But the regular guideline for the treatment of a child who is under 3 years old, and was diagnosed with autism, suggests that something between 25 and 30 hours of ABA treatment each week would be enough to bring them excellent outcomes.

Is ABA good to help people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

ABA has shown positive results in treating people with PTSD. It has helped them create a better ability to manage the emotions that are related to the trauma. This allows the person to improve their confidence in their ability to control their emotions, which will ultimately prevent them from lashing out.


This article showed you the top 3 ABA horror stories. It also explained what ABA is, and to who it is recommended.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.





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