NY is Not Ready to Meet New American Academy of Pediatrics Guidelines
for Persons with Autism
January 9, 2020
The New York State Association for Behavior Analysis (NYSABA) has reviewed and applauds the new American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines for autism. Despite our support for the AAP guidelines described by Perri Klass, M.D. for the New York Times on 1/6/20. NYSABA is concerned that New York is not adequately prepared to meet the needs of its citizens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The guidelines call for individuals with autism to receive behavioral treatment, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), as early as possible including prior to a formal diagnosis of autism. NYSABA’s concerns are based both on a significant barrier to increasing the numbers of behavior analysts in NY due to a licensure restriction that does not allow behavior analysts to work with persons who do not have (or have not yet been diagnosed with) autism.
The concern with the inability to meet capacity is based on a recent study by Zhang and Cummings (2019) that states that New York State ranks the lowest in the North East in certified (and licensed) behavior analyst providers per 100 children with ASD. Additionally, this deficit is exacerbated significantly by the steady decline in NY of new behavior analysts since the implementation of the unnecessarily restricted licensure in 2014.
This lack of available ABA practitioners will continue to be compounded far into the future by the scope of practice licensing limitation in New York to only autism if NY does not pass A6389-A (Peoples-Stokes) S4967-A (Skoufis) which will remove the scope limitation restricting the practice of behavior analysts to only individuals with autism.
The downward trend in new behavior analysts appears to be a direct result of the restricted scope. This restricted scope is the only one in the country of the 30 states that already license behavior analysts. With New Jersey to become the 31st shortly, this all but guarantees the further drain of behavior analysts to states where they can practice and train appropriately within the scope of their professional training. Not only does this restriction limit the availability of services but it also prohibits learning for students in areas outside of autism, despite the need to understand typical developmental milestones to work with individuals with ASD. Additionally NY limits the availability of these services to others without the diagnosis of autism, such as individuals with ADHD, Tourette Syndrome, brain injury, drug addiction, obesity concerns to name only a few, are not allowed to receive needed behavior-analytic services supported by years of research.
We are thankful to Assembly leader Peoples-Stokes and Senator Skoufis for their support and action to better serve NY citizens with autism and those who do not have autism but also need ABA services. The legislature must pass A6389-A and S4967-A this session to ensure that we can adequately train, retain, and attract new behavior analysts to New York State and to address the needs of individuals with autism that were described in the New York Times article. We urge you to contact your legislators to ask them to pass these crucial bills. We also encourage you to contact NYSABA at firstname.lastname@example.org to help move these bills forward.
The New York State Association for Behavior Analysis (www.NYSABA.org) is the voice of the behavior analytic community in the state of New York.
Zhang, Y. X. & Cummings, J. R. (2019). Supply of certified behavior analysts in the United States: Implications for service delivery for children with autism. Psychiatric Services. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201900058