ASAT Responds to Stamford Advocate's "Phony Autism Specialist Sentenced to Three Years in Prison" Story
Friday, October 29, 2010
We have been following this case for some time now. Although it has come to its conclusion within the court system, the impact of such crimes on these particular families is incomprehensible. When you entrust your child into the care of "professionals," you should not have to worry about whether they are truthful about their credentials.
Unfortunately, the demands for behavior analytic services far exceed the supply of qualified providers. Furthermore, we remain in an era where poor quality service delivery is not uncommon, where many providers are practicing outside their expertise (particularly in rural or otherwise underserved areas), and where we find providers with tremendous caseloads. Despite advances in the research base that underlies this method, the quality of service delivery can be attenuated by an array of factors and conditions. These can dampen the outcomes achieved for children with autism and perhaps drive families to pursue alternative treatments, many of which lack scientific support.
There is some good news for parents. They can search the Certificant Registry at BACB.com, as was astutely done by Ms. Graham (as reported in this story) to check the validity of reported credentials. Further guidance can be found at http://asatonline.org/helpdesk/clinician/considerations.htm, since behavior analysts vary widely with respect to their autism-related experiences and competencies.
Regardless of the specific type of therapy being pursued, we strongly encourage parents to ask questions about experiences and credentials of providers at the outset and throughout treatment. Ethically sound professionals would welcome these types of inquiries.
Thank you for putting this story on the radar for parents and professionals alike.
David Celiberti, Ph.D., BCBA-D, President
Association for Science in Autism Treatment
Lori Bechner, M.A., BCBA, President
Autism Special Interest Group of the Association for Behavior Analysis International