E. Amanda Boutot and Kara Hume
Abstract: Recent mandates related to the implementation of evidence-based practices for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) require that autism professionals both understand and are able to implement practices based on the science of applied behavior analysis (ABA). The use of the term “applied behavior analysis” and its related concepts continues to generate debate and confusion for practitioners and family members in the autism field. A general lack of understanding, or misunderstanding, of the science and practice of ABA is pervasive in the field and has contributed to an often contentious dialogue among stakeholders, as well as limited implementation in many public school settings. A review of the history of ABA and its application to individuals with ASD is provided, in addition to a discussion about practices that are/are not based on the science of ABA. Common myths related to ABA and ASD, as well as challenges practitioners face when implementing practices based on the science of ABA in public school settings are also described.