Exploring progressive applied behavior analysis through the lens of technology use among students with autism in an autism primary school in Hong Kong

  • Yiu Man Fung

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


Interventions based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and technology have been increasingly used to support individuals with autism. This research aimed to investigate progressive ABA, the benefits and issues of using screen-based media among students with autism, and how teachers manage technology use and related problems in an autism primary school in Hong Kong. Four studies were conducted in this research, including (1) focus group interviews with two teachers, (2) classroom observations with eight teachers and twelve students, (3) individual interviews with four teachers and (4) questionnaires with eight parents. Many benefits were identified in this research, such as enhancing knowledge, improving on-task behaviors, increasing engagement, promoting skills acquisition, verbal communication, social, play skills, generalization for students and being user-friendly for teachers. Issues were also observed, including increases of stereotypic behaviors, non-compliance, temper tantrums, inattention, online risks and social issues. Management strategies upon the occurrence of challenging behaviors were found, for instance, reprimand, removal of preferred activities, minimal attention, physical enforcement, and redirection. More, management should focus on teaching students to follow directions, self-monitoring, and other alternative behaviors with the use of verbal reminder, timer, and tokens. This research showed that technology is not a replacement for teachers and traditional teaching materials. It is a supplementary tool that has both positive and negative impacts to students, depending on how technology was being used. Screen-based media can enhance ABA-based teaching when teachers apply ABA principles and knowledge progressively with a great deal of clinical sensitivity, flexibility, critical thinking, delicacy and understanding of the students’ characteristics and needs.
Date of Award28 Sept 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bristol
SupervisorPaul A Howard-Jones (Supervisor) & Felicity Sedgewick (Supervisor)


  • Progressive ABA
  • Autism
  • Technology

Cite this