1. What is Autism?
Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life: it is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain.
Autism impacts the typical development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Children and adults with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. They find it hard to communicate with others and relate to the outside world. In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behaviour may be present. Persons with autism may exhibit repeated body movements (hand flapping, rocking), unusual responses to people or attachments to objects and resistance to changes in routines. Individuals may also experience sensitivities in sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.
2. What are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)?
The National Institute of Mental Health has developed a booklet that describes the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Autism Spectrum Disorders. This is an excellent resource to familiarize yourself about ASD. Please click here to download the booklet in PDF format.
3. What is ABA and IBI?
ABA, stands for Applied Behaviour Analysis, is the science in which procedures derived from the principles of behavior are systematically applied to improve socially significant behavior to a meaningful degree and to demonstrate experimentally that the procedures employed were responsible for the improvement in behavior” (Cooper, Heron & Heward, 1987).
IBI stands for Intensive Behaviour Intervention and relies on procedures drawn primarily from the field of ABA, in which procedures, including but not limited to discrete trial training, are used in a typically one-to-one manner to teach new skills, often in association with decreasing or eliminating maladaptive behaviours, using a comprehensiveness characterized by a tremendous amount of structure and reinforcement provided at high intensity (i.e., typically greater than 20 hours per week) using precise teaching techniques.
4. What happens after I am listed?
After you are listed, your listing will be reviewed to make sure that you provided your full contact information and completed all the fields provided in the registration. It is important that you check “Yes” to the question “Resume available upon request?” as parents may want to see it as part of the recruiting process. Your information will be available online. When parents search for providers, depending on the criteria they use, your name may come up and they will connect directly with you via the contact information you provided online.
5. I don’t have a police check. Do I require one? How can I get one?
It is important that you have a current completed police check available in the event that parents request to see it. If you don’t have a police check, please make sure that you get one. Some college/university programs require a clear police check for students to qualify to be in that program. As such, colleges and universities usually have a memorandum of understanding with the police in their respective region to facilitate a police check at the request of students as part of fulfilling program requirements such as coop placement, volunteer work, and part-time employment. Please note that a police check can only be done with your consent.
For more information about police check and your rights under this process, please click here.
6. Do I need to be trained in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI)?
Autism Ontario encourages anyone working with a child with ASD to get CPR/CPI training. For CPR, please check out St. John Ambulance or Canadian Red Cross for training schedules in your area. For CPI, connect with publicly funded service providers in your region and enquire about CPI training opportunities.
7. What is a regulated college?
A regulated college is not the same as the college or university you are attending. A regulated college is a governing body that sets standards and ethical practices of a profession. Examples of regulated colleges in Ontario are:
Independent providers listed on ABACUS are considered self-employed. Terms of employment, including hourly rate, are based on what you and the family will agree upon. Make sure that the terms are stipulated in a contract.
9. What are publicly-funded services that are related to ABA?
Ontario has a publicly-funded program that provides intensive behaviour intervention (IBI) for children with ASD. The program is called Autism Intervention Program (AIP). To find out more information about the process of how families can access the program, please read the Ministry of Children and Youth Services’ Autism Intervention Program Guidelines.
Families approved to receive funding under AIP have two options:
To understand an ABA-based program, one needs to have a clear understanding of what ABA is.
ABA is not a therapy. ABA is a science that governs evidence-based interventions, i.e. discrete trial training, verbal behaviour, precision teaching or fluency based intervention, etc.
An ABA program should address the core deficits and characteristics of a child with ASD, particularly in the areas of communication, socialization, and unusual repetitive behaviour.
Ideally, an ABA program has a core staffing that assumes the functions of the following (based on SAPD):
Visit ABACUS and Autism Ontario sites for information. As well, we recommend the following:
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board, the body that develops, promotes, and implements national and international certification program for behavior analysis practitioners, is the source of information for BCBA and BCABA. Please click here to go to BACB website. This site also contains information on how to get certified, approved university courses that meets the course work towards certification, standards for competence and ethical practice of the profession, consumer information, etc.
13. Do we have an equivalent of BACB in Ontario?
At present, there is no body in Ontario that provides the credentialing needs of ABA professionals in the province. There are many professionals providing ABA services without a BCBA or BCABA designation. Professionals include those, but are not limited to, members of a regulated profession such as College of Psychologists of Ontario, College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario, etc.
Generally, people who work in the autism field should have a university degree or community college diploma in a related field including sociology, psychology, Autism Behavioural Science, early childhood education, and child and youth work.
14. What is an instructor therapist?
An instructor therapist is an individual that provides direct one-on-one support/instruction to a child with ASD within an ABA program. Instructor therapist is also referred to as behaviour interventionist.
15. What are the positive characteristics of an instructor therapist?
The positive characteristics of an instructor therapist commonly identified by parents are: