The demonstrated effectiveness of applied behavior analysis-based interventions has led to its increasing acceptance by insurance providers, parents, and schools as the treatment of choice for individuals on the autism spectrum. However, much variability exists in the forms of and quality of what is labeled as ABA in practice. How is a parent, school district, or HMO administrator to distinguish between what constitutes ABA services and what does not? Who is competent to provide or supervise these services? A real potential exists for harm to consumers and to the positive perception that ABA now enjoys, if we as a field do not establish clear standards for the delivery of ABA services. The panel will discuss three projects designed to help codify standards in critical areas of behavior-analytic autism treatment. These projects include the BACB Health Plan Coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder, the Autism SIG Consumer Guidelines (for identifying qualified professionals in autism treatment), and the ABAI Empirically Supported Treatments project. The panelists will describe the purpose and status of each project. The implications of not establishing practice standards for practitioners in our profession will be highlighted and the ethical issues that such standards raise will be discussed.
Review James E. Carr’s biographical statement.