Why Choose a
Board Certified Behavior Analyst?
Whether you are seeking in-depth training to help your child or simply considering a single consultation, finding a highly trained and experienced consultant is essential.
Board Certified Behavior Analysts are among the most well-trained autism consultants. Before they can apply for Behavior Analyst training, they must have completed a Master’s degree. Behavior analysts in training then receive about three additional years of specialized training, included extensive coursework, consultation and supervision with a unique focus on understanding the principles that influence human behaviors and bring about change. They must pass a rigorous examination, pledge to uphold professional ethical standards and complete continuing post-graduate training to maintain their credential.
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board Inc (BACB) is the sole international certifying board for Behavior Analysts worldwide. Only individuals certified by the BACB can ethically present themselves to the public as behavior analysts. Steven Wertz initially qualified as instructors in the Son-Rise Program prior to obtaining full certification by the BACB.
As the demand for autism consultants has grown, the field has attracted individuals with minimal formal training or education. Since some countries do not regulate consultants, this has left families vulnerable to consultants who lack professional training or are unaware of the accepted standards for ethical practice, while representing themselves as autism experts based on workshop attendance or limited experience with a small number of individuals with autism.
In other instances, individuals represent themselves as “behavior analysts” without being trained or credentialed to do so. Others, who are credentialed by the BACB as Assistant Behavior Analysts (Bachelor’s degree practitioners), have failed to inform families that their training and credentials require them to work under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
In still other cases, well-intending parents who have helped their own child may offer their services professionally to other families, without first obtaining further education and supervision to work with children whose difficulties may be very different from those of their own child. While parents who have helped their own child may be enormously inspirational and encouraging to other parents, as well as having a wealth of practical know-how to share, they may lack the specialized training or experience to adequately address the problems of other children whose needs are different from theirs.
Such individuals may be very well qualified to work as child facilitators, “players” or in-home teaching aides, but may be less effective in assessing the child, designing appropriate curriculum, addressing challenging behaviors and developing a blueprint for the child’s ongoing progress.
We encourage parents to exercise caution in choosing a consultant, especially when seeking “big picture” services, such as assessment, curriculum, teaching methods or behavioral methods. Look for formal, graduate-level degrees in psychology, counseling, special education or behavior analysis, along with specialized autism training, supervision and documented work experience with a variety of children on the autism spectrum. Implementing a home program for your child is a significant investment of time, energy and expense. Your program will be only as good as the skills of those you entrust with your child’s program.
Copyright © 2012 Steven R. Wertz