Health Services: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA):

Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA is a type of therapy which applies the principles of learning and motivation from the scientific discipline of Behavior Analysis to create and sustain behavior change in individuals of various ages and abilities. ABA providers work with children with autism, emotional/behavioral disorders, intellectual disability, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and more.

How does ABA help the person with a disability or family support system?

Using ABA as a therapy may help improve behaviors in social interactions and the learning of new skills across different settings, such as in the classroom, home and community. ABA may also help older adults cope with the natural losses (such as memory, relationships, physical ability) that come with aging.

How can a parent/caregiver gain access to this service?

Various insurance companies and other funding sources may cover costs associated with behavior analysis services. Check with your funding source to determine if services are covered for your child. There are numerous providers working in South Florida. Click Here to find providers through bacb.com, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board website and to search by zip code.

Recommended websites, books:

FAU.edu: Programs and Resources Click Here
Fabaworld.org: the Florida Association for Behavior Analysis Click Here to read about real life applications of behavior analysis

When looking for services are there any questions or observations you would recommend parents to investigate before selecting a provider?

Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) are credentialed by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and must adhere to the ethical standards issued by the Board. When searching for providers, make sure that the service provider is Board certified. Click Here to check certification status on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board website bacb.com. BCBAs are professionals who have a graduate-level certification in behavior analysis. BCBAs may oversee Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs). Together, this team provides behavior analytic services to the consumer, caregivers, and other stakeholders in the community. When first meeting with a potential BCBA, be upfront and honest regarding your child’s current skills, deficits, and challenges. For the BCBA to determine if she or he has the education, training, and experience necessary to help your child, the BCBA will need to conduct an assessment. It is unethical for the BCBA to agree to take a case if she or he does not have the skills needed to perform competently. If the BCBA is unable to get the supervision or consultation he or she needs to proficiently work with your child, the BCBA may refer you to another service provider.

References:

Psychology Today. Applied behavior analysis.
psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/applied-behavior-analysis
FAU CARD
fau.edu/education/centersandprograms/card/resources

Written by: Kelly B. Kearney, EdD, BCBA-D, is a board certified behavior analyst – doctoral level. She has worked with students with autism, intellectual disability, and emotional/behavior disorder as both a teacher and as a BCBA, in schools, homes, and the community. She is currently a Visiting Instructor in the Department of Exceptional Student Education at Florida Atlantic University.