It's Go Time! Governor Deciding on Signing the Law Licensing BCBAs NOW (mid-December 2013). PLEASE Take a Minute and . . .
Thanks, everyone, who wrote or called their legislators. The bill--passed by both the New York State Senate and Assembly--must be signed by the end of the year or it will expire, and the legislative process will have to begin all over again. The licensure legislation needs only Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature to become law in the Empire State.
Now, please contact Governor Cuomo. Voice your support for the rights of New Yorkers to safe, effective, ethical, regulated applied behavior analysis. We have a very small window, so please do this today.
What: NYS BCBA Licensure Bill S4862A / A6963A
Please call: Governor Andrew Cuomo: Call 518-474-8390.
New York State Association for Behavior Analysis advises:
In a polite voice, say "Hello, I am calling to ask Governor Cuomo to sign A.6963 and S.4862 to help New York families raising kids with autism. Please help end our frustration with the 2011 autism insurance reform law. Thank you."
I've done it a few times. Usually, you get a voicemail.
Previously, in our story . . .
Applied Behavior Analysis is the only scientifically based, evidence based, and proven intervention to address the behavior problems and learning issues that come with autism. And by "autism," I am including everyone, including individuals with high IQs. No one is "too smart" to benefit from ABA. (As a matter of fact, ABA is also used on sports training, pediatrics, geriatrics, physical rehabilitation, human resources, and organizational management.)
Currently, in New York State, we have an autism insurance reform law that makes available $45,000 or a set number of hours in medically indicated ABA services for about half the people in our state with a family member with autism (the "half" is about technicalities involving certain types of insurance not covered by this bill; it's more information than you need). Thousands of families need to access these services but they cannot because those of us specifically trained and certified by an international certifying body--Board Certified Behavior Analysts--are not licensed in New York State, as they are in some others. That means that BCBAs not only cannot provide these services unless they hold another NYS license (psychologist, licensed social worker, etc.), but they are severely limited in terms of where they can practice legally.
Without licensure, right now, in New York State, a behavior analyst without other accepted licensure who is working in your home independently, on, say, a toileting program, could be breaking the law. Oh, and teacher certification does NOT count. As a result, it is estimated that there may be a literal handful of people--like fewer than 100--with specific, professional training in ABA and such a license to do the work for the estimated tens of thousands of New Yorkers with ASDs and other developmental disabilities.
ABA is a science; it's not an "approach." And it is not psychology, talk therapy, counseling, or diagnosing. We recognize that those require specific expertise. That's not what we do. Every profession has its place in the treatment of autism. And BCBAs have theirs. Trained behavior analysts do not "go from the gut": they make decisions based on data and their knowledge of the science of human behavior.
To be certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, one must take six graduate level courses in ABA approved by BACB, do 1,500 hours of practice supervised by a BCBA, and sit for an exam that is harder than the GRE and the LSAT put together (I've done all three). Currently, only about 57% pass the first time. Further, BCBAs must meet high standards for continuing education throughout their careers.
Licensure for BCBAs would protect consumers and the taxpayers whose dollars fund behaviorally based interventions and education in a range of settings--from early intervention and public schools, through adult services--from ineffective and potentially dangerous treatment.
I am proud to be a BCBA, but I'm also a mother who about fifteen years ago fired someone presenting herself as "an ABA therapist" and her two allegedly more experienced "consultants" because her "therapy" involved screaming at my six-year-old son as he stood in a corner ticking and echoing in a panic. Fast forward: that moment has shadowed me and stays with me as acting director of a university's BACB-approved coursework program, an adjunct professor in ethics for behavior analysts, and a supervisor of students fulfilling their supervised experience hours. That moment--which was pretty small potatoes compared to some of the frightening, even dangerous things I've seen done to individuals with ASDs and their families by people who thought they knew what they were doing with behavioral strategies--remains with me always. ABA is wonderful, but it is also powerful.
Thanks in advance for helping to make the world a better and safer place for individuals with ASDs and their families.
NBC New York: I-Team: "Autistic Kids Denied Coverage"
Please click on the blue link above. This is everything New Yorkers need to know about the bureaucratic tangle the new Autism Insurance Reform law is in. But, hopefully, not for long. This is comprehensive, succinct, and crystal clear. Contact your state legislators and let them know that you want the bill Governor Cuomo signed in November 2011 to be allowed to take effect as written. That means that BCBAs will be recognized as professionals qualified to practice in the field of applied behavior analysis. If that means we need licensure, bring it on. Meanwhile, check out my Blog for more information.
Thank you for stopping by . . .
Hello and Welcome to my website. As a teacher, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, consultant, and--most important--mom, I know how easy it is to feel overwhelmed by the deluge of "information" on AS and autism out there.
I understand that having options and being able to make choices is as important for our kids as it is for us. Yes, so much has changed for the better in terms of timely, accurate diagnosis and effective intervention. Despite that, peer-reviewed studies back up what I hear from parents nearly every day: We still have a long way to go. We are only just beginning to understand the needs of this first generation to grow up with the diagnosis. We are only now starting to learn from the stuggles we see older children facing what we should be doing for younger children today.
There are many good websites out there that offer you information on "everything" about autism. This is not one of them. My goal in building this site is to offer parents, teachers, and others evidence-based, data-driven information you can really use to teach someone with an ASD like Asperger syndrome how to grow toward independence and fully realize his or her potential, whatever that may be.
Please check out the What's New column to your right. There I list new entries to the blog and the Tips and Advice page, and you will find links to my two ASD-related books: The OASIS Guide to Asperger Syndrome, cowritten with Barb Kirby, and my latest: The Parents' Guide to Teaching Kids with Asperger Syndrome and Similar ASDs Real-Life Skills for Independence. Then click over to the News page, and scroll down on your right to find my list of Highly Recommended resources, including The Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at Stony Brook Children's Hospital, the workplace I'm proud to call home.
If you have a special topic you would like to see addressed or if you have a question, please get in touch (click the Contact tab above).
Thank you for reading,