Identifying a Qualified Provider

Updated April, 2018 

In Ontario, families can either receive ABA services through their local regional provider, or they can receive funding to purchase behavioural services through a private provider. Behaviour programs play a large part in family life, so its important parents find a clinical team that fits best with their family. 

The Ontario Autism Program has put together the following Family Guide to OAP Clinical Teams to help families identify qualified providers. Families should also connect to Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis (ONTABA), for information regarding ABA services in Ontario. ONTABA is the professional association for behaviour analysts in Ontario and an Affiliate Chapter of the Association for Behaviour Analysis International (ABAI).

A range of clinical staff may be involved in the supervision and delivery of ABA services in the OAP. Please see below for a summary of the OAP Clinical Staffing Requirements for each team member, in addition to their role on the team:

Clinical Supervisors are accountable for overseeing all aspects of a child/youth's OAP Behaviour Plan, in close collaboration with families, therapists, and inter-professional partners.

Clinical Supervisor Requirements include:

One of the following professional designations:
    • Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®)
    • Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral™ (BCBA-D™)
    • Clinical Psychologist or Psychological Associate registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario with documented expertise in ABA 7
    • At least 3,000 hours post-certification/registration experience (typically completed over two years) delivering Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) services to children and youth with ASD (including a minimum of 1,500 post-certification hours involving supervisory duties)
    • Vulnerable Sector Screening/Check
    • Professional liability insurance (purchased individually or through employer)
    • Adherence to a professional code of conduct (e.g., Behavior Analyst Certification Board® Professional and Ethical Compliance Code, College of Psychologists of Ontario Standards of Professional Conduct)

Front Line Therapists are often part of the clinical team. These include Senior Therapists and ABA Therapists.


Senior Therapists

Senior Therapists are responsible for implementing services outlined in the Behaviour Plan. They may be designated by the Clinical Supervisor to provide supervision and training to ABA Therapists, and may also be involved in the development of the Behaviour Plan than ABA Therapists would be. Senior Therapists must receive ongoing supervision from a Clinical Supervisor. 

Senior Therapist Recommended Qualifications include:

Required

All Front-Line Therapists delivering services in the OAP must have a Vulnerable Sector Screening/Check

Recommended

At least one of the following credentials:

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®)/Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst® (BCaBA®) (or in progress with appropriate supervision) with 3,000 hours of supervised experience delivering ABA services
  • 4,500 hours experience delivering ABA services under the supervision of a BCBA® and/or registered psychologist with expertise in ABA
  • Professional liability insurance (purchased individually or through employer)
  • Adherence to a professional and ethical compliance code (e.g., Behavior Analyst Certification Board® Professional and Ethical Compliance Code, College of Psychologists of Ontario Standards of Professional Conduct, or other applicable compliance codes)

ABA Therapists

ABA Therapists are responsible for implementing services outlined in the Behaviour Plan. They must work under the supervision of a Clinical Supervisor.

ABA Therapist Recommended Qualifications include:

Required

All Front-Line Therapists delivering services in the OAP must have a Vulnerable Sector Screening/Check

Recommended

At least one of the following credentials:

  • Registered Behaviour Technician™ (RBT®) (BACB®)
  • Completed, or on track to complete, related university degree (psychology, ABA, etc.)
  • 1 year experience delivering ABA/IBI services under the supervision of a Senior Therapist and/or Clinical Supervisor
  • Completed, or on track to complete, related college diploma (e.g., Autism and Behavioural Services, Behavioural Science and Technology, Early Childhood Education, Child and Youth Worker)

At minimum, a Clinical Supervisor must be involved with each child/youth receive ABA services. The clinical team may also include front line staff, including a Senior Therapist and/or ABA Therapist. The type and amount of clinical team members will depend on the child/youth’s treatment goals.


What do we currently have in Ontario in terms of education and training opportunities in autism and ABA, particularly in the area of early intervention?

The Ontario Government has launched a recruitment campaign to attract and retain professionals to work in the Autism field in Ontario. In its effort to build capacity to meet the long-term needs of the Autism Intervention Program in the Province, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services created the Grant Assistance Program for Autism Intervention Program Professionals to assist with funding of academic studies as part of professional development for staff of publicly-funded agencies.

There is an organization based in the United States that provides international certification to professionals in the ABA field. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) is a non-profit corporation created to meet professional credentialing needs identified by behavior analysts, government, and consumers of behaviour analysis services. The Board certifies practitioners at four levels:

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D)
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
  • Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA)
  • Registered Behavior Technician (RBT)

Please review the BACB website to learn more about the qualifications. The site also contains valuable information about guidelines for responsible conduct and ethical practices for Behavior Analysts. The information on the site is useful for families to get an idea of what credentials to look for in ABA professionals and what to expect from them.

 


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