How do I know what to expect from an ABA company?

ABA companies have a lot of similarities amongst each other, but there can also be a lot of differences (from treatment settings, treatment hour’s recommendations, teaching methodologies, staff structures, and more).  Even though there can seem to be many differences, the main principles should be the same.  ABA is a science with lots of research to support it. ABA companies should use basic ABA principles and current research to build your child’s ABA program.

Parents and caregivers can become informed of what to expect from an ABA company by reviewing the following resources:

Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)

Behavior Analysts and Behavior Technicians are certified through The Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc. (BACB®).

“The BACB is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation established in 1998 to meet professional credentialing needs identified by behavior analysts, governments, and consumers of behavior analysis services. The BACB’s certification requirements, exam content, and procedures undergo regular review according to international standards for organizations that grant professional credentials. All BACB requirements and examination content are established by content experts in the discipline.”

The BACB released a video on June 29, 2018 that provides a brief overview of behavior analysis for the general public. Visit About Behavior Analysis to view the video.

Experience Standards and Certification

The BACB has a set of experience standards that must be met for a Behavior Analyst and a Behavior Technician to become certified through the BACB. To review the current experience standards, please visit the BACB. Once certified, a Behavior Analyst is called a Board Certified Behavior Analyst or BCBA and a Behavior Technician is called a Registered Behavior Technician or RBT. 

You should ask if your child’s supervisor is a BCBA and if their behavior technicians are RBTs.  Or you can look them up in the BACB’s RBT Registry or BCBA Registry. If they aren’t on the registry, you can ask them where they are at in the process of obtaining their credentials and if they are currently supervised by a BCBA.  It takes time to earn these credentials and working with clients is a requirement towards becoming certified.  BTs are not required to be RBTs, but it would be considered best practices for technicians to obtain this credential. RBTs cannot work independently without being supervised by a BCBA.  If your child’s ABA team isn’t supervised by a BCBA closely, then you may have cause to be concerned.

BACB Task Lists

Parents and caregivers can be aware of basic ABA principles and core tasks that can be performed by BCBAs and RBTs, by reviewing the BACB’s task lists, which can be found at Behavior Analyst Certification Board or BACB’s website: BCBA Task List and for RBT Task List.

BACB Practice Guidelines for ASD

The BACB has released a document with suggested standards in the delivery of ABA services called the PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR ASD. “The standards presented in this document reflect the consensus of a number of subject matter experts, but do not represent the only acceptable practice.” There are a number of reasons the standards reflected in this document might not be in place in your child’s ABA services, some reasons might be the funding source, insurance requirements, staffing, and/or treatment settings.   You can refer to this document to gain knowledge on suggested standards.  If you have any questions why these standards are not being followed, just ask your child’s BCBA!

All ABA companies should follow these standards to the best of their ability. If you are currently with another company and not happy, we advise you first to ask your BCBA or their supervisor about best practices and see if they are willing to work with you. You may be able to help your team make any changes they need to follow those standards by having an open discussion with your current company. 

Growing Field of ABA

As ABA practitioners, we have a large population to serve. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “about 1 in 59 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)” according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

ABA is the #1 recommended treatment for children and adults with ASD.  There is a growing need for ABA services and while our field is growing, we have a shortage of qualified staff both nationally and internationally.  The number of BCBAs and RBTs grows each year, see the BACB’s Annual Data Report for current numbers of certified staff.

Illinois Association for Behavior Analysts (ILABA)

Many of GBC aba’s staff are active members of Illinois Association for Behavior Analysts (ILABA). Stephanie Gorbold, GBC aba’s founder and president, is a board member and the current president-elect of ILABA.  She also chairs the Insurance Task Force committee.  Suzanne Juzwik, GBC aba’s Client Rights Officer, serves on ILABA’s Client Rights Committee. 

GBC aba

The specialists on our team are always seeking ways to improve and expand their skills by staying current with the latest research, by attending professional conferences and seminars, by being members of professional organizations, and by taking continuing education courses to keep up with best practices in ABA.

We hope you will consider contacting GBC aba to determine if we are a good fit for your family’s needs. If you have questions about the resources provided in this blog, please contact info@gbcaba.com.

References

BACB’s Annual Data Report. Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from www.bacb.com.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst Task List. Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from www.bacb.com.

IlABA. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from www.ilaba.clubexpress.com.


Practice Guidelines for ASD. Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from www.bacb.com.

Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2014. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/ss/ss6706a1.htm

Registered Behavior Technician Task List. Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from www.bacb.com.