Consumer Information

What You Should Know About Applied Behavior Analysis Professionals and Their Services


What is applied behavior analysis?

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the design, implementation, and evaluation of environmental modifications, using behavioral stimuli and consequences, to produce socially significant improvement in human behavior, including the use of direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relationship between environment and behavior.

What is a New York State licensed behavior analyst? What is a New York State certified behavior analyst assistant?

A New York State licensed behavior analyst (LBA) is a licensed health care professional who treats individuals with autism, autism spectrum disorders and related disorders. In providing services to such individuals, LBAs apply principles of ABA to design, implement, and evaluate environmental modification to produce socially significant improvement in behavior.

A New York State certified behavior analyst assistant (CBAA) is a licensed health care professional who provides ABA treatment to the above-referenced individuals as assigned by a supervising LBA.

Why would I use the services of a New York State licensed applied behavior analysis professional?

Such services should be used by an individual who has been diagnosed with autism, autism spectrum disorder, or a related disorder, when a physician, psychologist, or other authorized professional has ordered or prescribed ABA services as a behavioral health treatment for the disorder.

What can I expect to happen over the course of my applied behavior analysis treatment?

Assessment and intervention will vary for each person based on his or her individual strengths and weaknesses. Over the course of treatment, you should expect your applied behavior analysis professional to do the following:

  • Develop treatment goals, protocols, and data collection systems;
  • Summarize and analyze data;
  • Evaluate progress towards treatment goals;
  • Adjust treatment protocols based on data collection; and
  • Coordinate care with family members, professionals, and paraprofessionals.

What are some examples of applied behavior analysis treatment goals?

ABA treatment goals may include:

  • Self-help skills (i.e. brushing teeth, getting dressed, preparing meals, toileting)
  • Social interaction (i.e. greeting peers, turn-taking)
  • Managing problem behavior (i.e. aggression, non-compliance, disrobing)
  • Language and communication (i.e. articulation, conversation, making needs known)
  • Play and leisure skills (i.e. riding a bike, playing soccer, playing with toys appropriately)
  • Safety skills (i.e. crossing the street, being aware of the environment)
  • Academic skills (i.e. math, reading, writing)
  • Vocational skills (i.e. job training)

What credentials does a New York State licensed behavior analyst or a New York State certified behavior analyst assistant have?

There are currently two Pathways to licensure for LBAs and certification for CBAAs:

Pathway One

There is a grandparenting licensure/certification pathway, which the New York State Education Department is referring to as Pathway One. Under this pathway, applicants who are certified or registered by a national certifying body that has certification or registration standards acceptable to the Commissioner of Education, such as the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), and submit an application, including an attestation of moral character, to the New York State Education Department before January 9, 2016 may be licensed as LBAs or certified as CBAAs. Although Pathway One will expire on January 9, 2016, the licenses and certifications issued under it will not. Additional information regarding Pathway One can be found on this site.

Pathway Two

A LBA must have completed a master's or higher degree in applied behavior analysis OR a master's or higher degree in a related field and an advanced certificate in applied behavior analysis. In addition, he or she must complete at least 1,500 hours of supervised experience.

A CBAA must have completed a bachelor's or higher degree in applied behavior analysis OR a bachelor's or higher degree in a related field and a certificate in applied behavior analysis. In addition, he or she must complete at least 1,000 hours of supervised experience.

All applied behavior analysis professional studies must include coursework in autism, autism spectrum disorders, and related disorders; concepts and principles of applied behavior analysis; understanding of assessment and measurement tools; research methodology; scientific and professional ethics and standards of practice; maintenance of client records; and issues of cultural and ethnic diversity. Additionally, LBAs must have a supervised practicum or internship of at least 150 hours and CBAAs must have a practical supervised experience of at least 100 hours.

Both LBAs and CBAAs must also pass a written, State-approved licensing examination and met all other criteria for licensure/certification in the State. Pathway Two is a permanent licensure/certification pathway for prospective LBAs and CBAAs.

Will my health insurance cover applied behavior analysis services?

It may. Review and understand your insurance plan, and contact your insurance provider to understand your plan’s benefits.

What types of records does my applied behavior analysis professional retain? Can anyone else get them?

Your patient file contains a record of your evaluation, assessment, and treatment. An applied behavior analysis professional keeps records per each session, which reflect observation and measurement of behavior and behavior changes. Applied behavior analysis professionals must keep all patient records for a minimum of six years and, for minors, until the patient turns 22, as well.

Generally, your records are confidential unless you approve their release or another law or regulation or court order authorizes or requires their release. Ask your applied behavior analysis professional about the conditions under which other individuals might have access to your patient records. If you want a copy of your records, provide your applied behavior analysis professional with a written request. You may be charged a reasonable fee to offset the cost of providing you copies of your records.

How do I locate a licensed applied behavior analysis professional?

Applied behavior analysis professionals work in a variety of settings, including private offices, clinics, schools, and hospitals. They may also provide therapy in your home.

Check with your doctor and people you know who have had a successful experience with a particular professional. You can also check under "Applied Behavior Analysis" in the yellow pages of your telephone book or on the web.

Additionally, you may call professional organizations for assistance in identifying member providers. The State Board for Applied Behavior Analysis cannot refer you to an applied behavior analysis professional.

What questions should individuals with disabilities ask about accessing services?

Ask such questions as whether the service location is physically accessible (curb cuts, ramps, restrooms, etc.), as well as, whether there is a Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) and parking for people with disabilities.

Verifying a New York license:

New York State licensed applied behavior analysis professionals must display a current New York State registration certificate; this certificate lists the professional's name, address, and the date of the registration period. Applied behavior analysis professionals must reregister every three years to practice in New York State. Some professionals also display their original New York State license/certification, diploma, licenses from other states, and membership certificates. You may verify an individual's New York license/certification and registration on this site.

Last Updated: April 2, 2015