There is a lot of jargon, particularly anacronyms, that are thrown around in the world of Autism treatment. This can be confusing and overwhelming. In this blog we set out to define and clarify a few of the most prominent terms.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist - An ABA therapist is a person who is certified/qualified to administer treatment to people on the spectrum based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. One of the main pillars of ABA is the concept of positive reinforcement in order to increase good behaviors/skills in a child using rewards & recognitions as a prize for carrying out each desirable task etc. ABA therapists can work in clinical, school, or home settings (from one on one to a small group at a time). At times, more than one therapist could be involved in the treatment of a child as the initial weeks of therapy can be quite demanding. The training and experience can vary from therapist to therapist.
Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) - A BCBA is a professional who has met the educational and professional training requirements set by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB). A BCBA has Master’s degree in Psychology, Child Development, or a related field. Some BCBAs possess a doctoral degree in one of these domains and are known as BCBA-Ds. The main duties of BCBAs are conducting clinical assessments, setting skill based and behavior goals, reviewing and adjusting treatment goals, conducting parent and caregiver training, overseeing the work of Registered Behavior Technicians and others on the case, making sure the ABA program is executed properly and effectively, and writing progress reports.
Certified Autism Specialist (CAS) - A CAS is a professional with a master’s degree, who has been working in the Autism field for a minimum of two years, and is obligated to remain in the field of Autism by getting 14 CEU’s (Continuing Education Credits) in Autism after every 2 years. A CAS may have a variety of expert experience; however, the title means they currently work with people on the Autism spectrum. CASs include a wide a variety of specialists including speech and language pathologists (SLPs), occupational therapists (OTs), administrators, physical therapists (PTs), teachers, psychologists, counselors, behavior therapists, doctors and university professors.
Autism Certificate – It is a certificate meant for professionals who work within the domain of ASD. Degrees are not required. The Autism Certificate mandates that the person stay up to date in the domain of ASD by getting 14 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every two years. Persons who obtain Autism Certificates include teachers, organizations, program support staff, paraprofessionals, school bus drivers, childcare staff, medical assistants, paramedics, police officers, firemen, and more.
We hope that the above information clarifies some of the common terms used in the world of autism treatment, and that you and your family can have a better understanding of the discussions regarding your child’s treatment and Autism intervention in general.