There is an organization based in the United States that provides international certification to professionals in the ABA field known as theBehavior Analyst Certification Board. However, there is currently no governing body that establishes the credentials for ABA professionals in Ontario. ONTABA, the Ontario Association for Behaviour Analysis, is an Affiliate Chapter of the Association for Behaviour Analysis International. ONTABA currently has members from professions such as education, nursing, health care and psychology.
As diagnostic tools become more sophisticated and more children are being diagnosed at an earlier age, there is a growing demand for early interventions such as ABA that is specific to Autism. How can families identify qualified professionals in Behaviour Analysis?
Generally, people who work in the autism field should have a university degree or community college diploma in a related field including sociology, psychology, behaviour science, early childhood education, and child and youth work. According to Ontario’s Autism Intervention Program Guidelines, an ABA program should have the following core clinical staffing with appropriate qualifications:
A Clinical Director is responsible for overseeing, monitoring, and evaluating of the intensive behavioural intervention program, as well as overseeing assessments and Individual Program Plans. This will include providing training and supervision of senior therapists, interns and trainees to support the overall quality and consistency of the behavioural intervention approach. It will also involve responsibility for fulfillment of the provincial information and evaluation requirement. Regional Programs may need to employ additional clinical psychologists/psychologist associates to support the program.
The Clinical Director will have training and extensive clinical experience in intensive behavioural intervention for young children with autism; have a doctoral degree in Psychology; and be registered or eligible for registration with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.
Senior Therapists should have or be working towards a master’s level graduate degree in Psychology or related field, and six months to a year of direct clinical experience in an intensive behavioural intervention program for children with autism. Alternative combinations of extensive clinical experience in intensive behavioural intervention with children with autism and other educational backgrounds might also be appropriate for Senior Therapists. The number of Senior Therapists necessary will vary across regions depending on the number of children to be served.
Instructor therapists should be community college or university undergraduates in a related field. Previous experience providing intensive behavioural intervention would be of benefit. Alternative combinations of experience and educational background may also be appropriate for Instructor Therapists.
*Source: Pre-school Intervention Program for Children with Autism - Program Guidelines, Ministry of Children and Youth Services
For more tips on how to identify a qualified professional, please click on the attached document.
There are colleges in Ontario that offer a certificate or diploma program specific to Autism called Autism and Behavioural Science Program, namely:
There is an organization based in the United States that provides international certification to professionals in the ABA field. The Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB), a non-profit corporation was created to meet professional credentialing needs identified by behavior analysts, government, and consumers of behaviour analysis services.
The Board certifies practitioners at two levels:
Please review the BACB website to learn more about the qualifications of BCBA and BCABA. 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. The Board is supported by the Association for Behavior Analysis International, which has membership in Canada. To date, BACB has approved three universities in Canada as meeting the coursework required for BCBA and BCABA, namely: