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There is an organization based in the United States that provides international certification to professionals in the ABA field
known as the
Behavior Analyst Certification Board
. However, there is currently no governing body that establishes the credentials for ABA professionals in Ontario.
, 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 are responsible for a set number of children and for supervising the instructor therapists who are working with these children. Senior Therapists will also participate in intensive one- on-one and small group instruction. They will need to accept ongoing clinical supervision from the Clinical Director/Supervising Psychologist to support their intervention work. They will provide families with training related to behavioural intervention and home programming.
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 are responsible for providing intensive one-on-one and small group instruction. To support this work, these therapists will be responsible for maintaining a daily data book for each child that will help in monitoring the child’s progress. Senior Therapists supervise Instructor Therapists.
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.
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
What do we currently have in Ontario in terms of education and training opportunities in Autism field, 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 are colleges in Ontario that offer a certificate or diploma program specific to Autism called Autism and Behavioural Science Program, namely:
George Brown College
Lambton College of Applied Arts and Technology
Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology
(in partnership with Canadore College and Confederation College)
St. Clair College
St. Lawrence College
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:
Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA)
Board Certified Associate Behavior Analysts (BCABA)
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:
University of British Columbia
University of Manitoba
Brock University (in Ontario)