1. Is your child's practitioner a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)?
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques are often used by providers who are not BCBAs. This is a red flag if the provider is claiming to specialize in ABA therapy. BCBAs are behavior scientists extensively trained in the application of ABA. Prior to sitting for their board examinations, BCBAs receive years of graduate school training, extensive practicum supervision, and clinical training. BCBAs are required to remain in good standing with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), which includes quantified continuing education, ethical compliance, and legal compliance. Beware of those who offer specialized ABA therapy services, but do not hold the BCBA credential. These individuals are not bound by a governing agency ensuring their ABA competency as a professional. You can visit the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's website to vet your child’s case manager at www.bacb.com.
2. Is your child's direct care paraprofessional a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT)?
The RBT credential was established by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board to ensure the competency of those delivering direct ABA therapy to clients. The RBT credential requires 40 hours of specialized ABA coursework, the passing of a board competency examination, continuous direct supervision from a BCBA or BCaBA, as well as ethical and legal compliance with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board's website allows you to vet your child’s direct care paraprofessional. Direct care paraprofessionals implementing ABA programming without holding the RBT credential should be considered a red flag.
3. How often will the BCBA or BCaBA directly supervise your child's RBT?
To ensure treatment efficacy, RBTs should receive 1 hour of direct BCBA or BCaBA supervision for every 10 hours of ABA program implementation with a learner. It is typical for this supervision to occur weekly or bi-weekly; however, it is not uncommon for a BCBA to supervise treatment sessions more frequently than required. If a BCBA or BCaBA does not directly supervise RBT sessions with your child, you should consider this to be a major red flag. You can visit the Behavior Analyst Certification Board's website to learn more about supervision requirements for all direct care ABA staff.
4. Are you allowed to observe your child's sessions?
As a parent you should always be allowed to observe your child’s sessions. A no-parent policy should be considered a red flag. However, it is not uncommon for parent observations to become problematic during therapy sessions. Sometimes children are too distracted by the parent’s presence for the session to be effective. In these situations parents should be offered an alternative method of observation such as window viewing, or use of a baby monitor.
5. How often does Parent Training occur?
Parent training is a vital component of quality ABA programs. Parent training should occur weekly, bi-weekly, or at minimum monthly. It should be considered a red flag if your provider does not offer synchronous parent training.
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