As Autism Diagnoses Increase, Shortage of ABA Therapists Remains a Problem; New Government Study Finds 1 in 40 American Children Has Autism
Most Effective and Sought After Treatment for Individuals affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is Applied Behavior Analysis; Due to a Lack of Qualified Providers, Families in Need May Not Get Access to Effective Treatment
ABA, based on the concepts developed by the psychologist B.F. Skinner, is an applied science devoted to developing procedures which will produce observable changes in behavior.
According to Dr. Steve Woolf, President of Butterfly Effects, which provides therapy services to children affected by ASD and is one of the largest ABA providers in the country, there is a nationwide shortage of Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Currently, there are just under 30,000 BCBAs in the United States. Dr. Woolf adds that the number of BCBAs would need to be doubled to meet the current service needs of families affected by ASD.
The shortage is something Dr. Woolf's team at Butterfly Effects is trying to remedy as more children are receiving ASD diagnoses at younger ages. "The lack of qualified ABA professionals is a concern for numerous parents living in the United States, who may face service waitlists for months, or even years," added Dr. Woolf. Autism, Dr. Woolf says, is the only developmental disability where you can lose your diagnosis as a result of treatment. "Therefore, early intervention and treatment is paramount," he said.
To meet the demand (which includes about 40 requests a week at Butterfly Effects alone from parents around the country), Butterfly Effects engages in nationwide recruitment and enhanced professional development activities in an effort to attract qualified staff. Butterfly Effects currently has more than 65 open ABA and technician positions listed on its website here.
While the company has a policy of hiring the best, Butterfly Effects is also focused on making their hires even better through training and development. For example, the Butterfly Effects team teaches unique practitioner-
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