Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis InternationalĀ® (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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Panel #230
CE Offered: BACB
Accessing Applied Behavior Analysis and Other Necessary Services and Tools Among Minorities and Different Cultural Backgrounds
Sunday, May 28, 2023
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 4
Area: AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
CE Instructor: Saba Torabian, Ph.D.
Chair: Saba Torabian (Intervention Center for Autism Needs)
EDUARDO IBARRA (Intervention Center for Autism Needs)
MARITZA HEREDIA (Intervention Center for Autism Needs)
BADREDDINE SMATI (Intervention Center for Autism Needs)

Children with autism are among one of the most underserved populations in the world. Minority children with autism are even more deprived of accessing services that are necessary and critical for their skill acquisitions and progress. These are children who come from families with scarce knowledge about the initial diagnosis of autism (minorities usually get diagnosed at least 1-2 years later than their peers who are from the majority culture). Even after the diagnosis, majority of the families are lost as to where to go and how to get started with either early start programs, special education, and receiving ABA, speech, OT, and other important services. Based on the data collected from our practice, 6 out of 10 newly diagnosed families with autism have never heard the term IEP and did not even know how to start the process. About 9 out of 10 did not know that their children with autism also qualify for Medical coverage. Once they heard their children qualify for medical coverage, their first response was that “they were always under the impression that Medical is only for low-income families”. And about 9 out of 10 were not receiving In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) funds to care for their children with autism. AS BCBAs, a big part of our work must be related to empowering families both from the clinical as well as advocacy perspectives. A successful BCBA is the one who: 1) Provides information about the service delivery and access to care to families of children with autism. For it to be the most efficient, the BCBA must familiarize him/herself with their state laws, how to work with Regional Centers, how to start the IEP process, and what is needed for a successful IEP. 2) Participate in school IEPs and help with their client’s accessing the tools and equipment’s such as AAC or other technology that must be provided by the school districts. 3) Educate families about other state-related services including IHSS and the funds available to families of children with special needs that allow them to be their children’s care provider and get paid through state funds. Of all the families attending our practice, none were receiving IHSS services until we got them educated. The ones who knew or had heard about it, the most common reason they provided for not using it was receiving misinformation about their application or significant delays on their application process by the organization that was handling their cases. During this panel discussion, we will discuss the necessary aspects of advocacy and clinical recommendations done by the BCBAs for the families of children who are from lower SES and/or minority backgrounds.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: 1) Help with accessing appropriate care for children with autism 2) help with service delivery 3) appropriately advocate for children from minority background and lower SES families



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Modifed by Eddie Soh