Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #466
CE Offered: BACB
Some Recent Developments Related to Behavior Analyst Licensure: Some Recent Adventures of the ABAI Licensing Committee
Monday, May 30, 2022
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Meeting Level 1; Room 156B
Area: PCH/DEV; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Gordon Bourland (Trinity Behavioral Associates)
Discussant: Michael F. Dorsey (Amego Inc.)
CE Instructor: Gordon Bourland, Ph.D.

The presentation of this symposium pertain to some of the issues addressed recently by the Association for Behavior Analysis International Licensing Committee. The Licensing Committee consults with chapter leaders, upon request, regarding issues pertaining to behavior analyst licensure and credentialing as well as provides resources related to those issues. Issues to be addressed include: features of a profession, status of behavior analysis as a profession, types of behavior analyst certification organizations, comparison of certifications currently available, influence of insurance requirements on provision of behavior analytic services, and opposition to behavior analyst certification with suggestions related to addressing them.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

1. Mastery of basic behavior analysis principles and procedures 2. Basic knowledge of behavior analyst credentialing procedures 3. Basic knowledge of common procedures for establishment of behavior analyst licensure (or comparable) 4. Basic knowledge of public policy advocacy practices

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentations, particiapnts should be able to: 1. state 3 typical features of a profession, 2. address whether behavior analysis is a profession, 3. state 3 typical expectations of a behavior analyst certifying entity, 4. state 3 typical features of a profession, 5. state 2 common problems related to insurance coverage of ABA service plans, 6. state 3 common points of opposition to behavior analyst licensure, and 7. state tactics for effectively addressing 3 common points of opposition to behavior analyst licensure.

What is a Profession and is Behavior Analysis One?

SHERRY L. SERDIKOFF (Savannah State University), John M. Guercio (Benchmark Human Services), Gordon Bourland (Trinity Behavioral Associates)

An ongoing topic of discussion among some people and recognized professions is whether behavior analysis is a profession, particular one independent of other existing professions (e.g., psychology, counseling, education). The answer to that discussion is relevant to decisions regarding establishment of licensure of behavior analysts. The essential features commonly identified with existence of a profession will be reviewed. An overview of historical tends in development of professions will be provided. Those trends include professions evolving and splitting from the from the profession in which it originated or existed very early (such as surgery in England initially being done by barbers, psychology growing out of philosophy which has ancient routes in theology and religion). Another trend has been for some professions to emerge from schisms within their memberships that drifted based upon the practitioner/scientist designations. Whether behavior analysis currently exhibits all or a critical mass of the identified features of a profession will be explored. That exploration will consider whether all components of behavior analysis (i.e., conceptual/theoretical, experimental, applied components) or just the applied component. Implications for regulation and licensing of behavior of the exploration of whether behavior analysis- or at least the applied component- should be considered a profession in its own right analysts will be discussed.

Who’s Certifying Whom?
GORDON BOURLAND (Trinity Behavioral Associates), Noor Younus Syed (SUNY Empire State College; Anderson Center International; Endicott College)
Abstract: In the last 5 years, several nongovernmental organizations, such as Qualified Applied Behavior Analysts® and International Behavior Analysis Organization™, have joined the Behavior Analyst Certification Board© in awarding various credentials, typically called certification, to individual behavior analysts. A review of readily available information indicates considerable variation on the requirements and nature of the credentials. Given the proliferation of behavior analysis credentials, multiple credentials available in some locations, and a change in international certifications pending 2023, a direct comparison of these credentials would be helpful for persons considering which credential(s) to review both within and outside the United States. In addition, such a review could be helpful to governmental entities (e.g., licensing boards) in considering which credential(s) might be an acceptable foundation for licensing behavior analysts. A systematic analysis of information available online regarding the identifying organizations issuing behavior analyst certification, revealed differences between nature (e.g., some nonprofit, some apparently for profit) and governance of organizations. Additionally, differences were found in the knowledge of behavior analysis expected of certificants, educational requirements (e.g., some requiring masters-level training, some not, for certification as a behavior analyst, per se), supervised experience requirements, nature and specifics of candidate testing, geographical availability of certification, as well as certification costs

Riddle Me This: When is Your Medically Necessary Behavior Goal NOT Your Behavior Goal (Negotiating Insurance Company Requirements for Creating Treatment Plans)

BOBBY NEWMAN (Proud Moments), Chanie Rubin (Proud Moments ABA), Aliza Yadlovker (Proud Moments ABA), Aline Kovacs (Proud Moments ABA)

As third party (insurance) payments have become more common in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, behavior analysts have had to learn a new language and paradigm for writing goals. Some insurance companies specify that they will cover only the "core deficits" of Autism Spectrum Disorders, for example. This leads to common goals, such as Activities of Daily Living, seeming to be outside the realm of coverage. This talk will address some of these issues and discuss means of making sure that all goals required by the individual being taught are addressed.

Opposition to Licensure of Behavior Analysts: Who Objects and Why?
JOHN WALTER SCIBAK (Retired Massachusetts State Representative and ABAI Licensing Committee)
Abstract: Licensure protects the public by enforcing standards that restrict practice to individuals who have met specific qualifications in education, work experience, and examination. As a result, the prevalence of occupation licenses has increased dramatically over the past 50 years, with estimates suggesting over 1,000 occupations are regulated in at least 1 state. Given these data, and the fact that licensure has been widely accepted for fields as diverse as physicians, barbers, electricians, and florists, why have people objected to licensure for behavior analysts? Who has been most vociferous in their opposition, what is the basis for their objections, what differentiates behavior analysis from other clinical disciplines, and why have some individuals gone beyond licensure and oppose the practice of behavior analysis altogether? This presentation will review the current state of opposition and suggest strategies to counter these objections.



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