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Selecting the Right ABA Provider: Prioritizing Quality and Transparency

A Guide for Parents from a Parent

Selecting the Right ABA Provider: Prioritizing Quality and Transparency

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is a widely recognized evidence-based approach to helping individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. Choosing the right ABA provider can be a daunting task, given the wide array of options available. In this article, I will discuss several essential factors to consider when selecting an ABA provider, including educational requirements, the importance of interviewing multiple providers, and the benefits of choosing a locally owned provider. We will also address the need for adequate facility security, morally grounded core values, parent and sibling training, and a transparent treatment environment.

I hope that what I have learned over the years, is helpful in guiding you to make this important decision.

Educational Requirements

A qualified ABA provider should have the appropriate educational background and certifications. Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) are professionals who have completed a master's or doctoral degree in ABA or a related field and have passed the BCBA examination. Ensure that the provider you choose has a team of certified professionals with experience in working with individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Interviewing Multiple Providers

It is crucial to interview multiple ABA providers to find the best fit for your child and your family. This process will allow you to evaluate the provider's expertise, approach, and philosophy. Consider asking about their experience with children similar to yours, their treatment methods, and how they involve parents in the treatment process.

What to watch out for: Locally Owned vs. Private Equity or Corporate Ownership?

List of more PE-Owned and PE-Backed ABA Service Providers in the United States

Additional independent Articles for reference regarding this topic:

Which PE Firms have invested in ABA Provider Organizations? - List of PE Firms in ABA

Parents and clinicians say private equity’s profit fixation is short-changing kids with autism

The new trend in autism care — private equity investment

Why the Massive Investment in Autism Companies Created a ‘Ticking Timebomb’

As Private Equity Comes to Dominate Autism Services…


The autistic community is having a reckoning with ABA therapy. We should listen

Private equity harms autism service market

Private equity is the biggest player in a booming autism-therapy industry. Some therapists say the ‘money grab’ is hurting the quality of care

What to watch out for: Profit driven Clinics that utilize Non-registered behavioral health technicians (BHT’s).

Within ABA clinics, there are various professionals with different qualifications who play crucial roles in providing treatment. Two such roles are Behavioral Health Technicians (BHTs) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs).

While both BHTs and RBTs can provide valuable support in an ABA clinic, there are potential dangers associated with relying solely on BHTs rather than RBTs.

  1. Lack of standardized training: BHTs may not have completed the standardized training required for RBTs. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) oversees the training and certification of RBTs, which includes 40 hours of coursework, a competency assessment, and ongoing supervision. This ensures RBTs have a consistent, evidence-based foundation in ABA principles. BHTs, on the other hand, may have varying levels of training and education in ABA, leading to inconsistent service quality.

  2. Limited scope of practice: RBTs are specifically trained to implement ABA interventions under the supervision of a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or a Board-Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA). BHTs may not have the same level of expertise in ABA, which can limit their ability to provide appropriate treatment and adapt interventions as needed.

  3. Ethical concerns: RBTs are bound by the BACB's ethical guidelines, which help to ensure the quality, safety, and effectiveness of ABA services. BHTs may not be held to the same ethical standards, which could result in suboptimal or even harmful treatment practices.

  4. Supervision and accountability: RBTs are required to receive ongoing supervision from a BCBA or BCaBA. This ensures that they are implementing ABA interventions correctly and that any necessary adjustments are made in a timely manner. BHTs may not have the same level of supervision or accountability, increasing the risk of errors or mismanagement of treatment.

  5. Insurance and funding issues: Some insurance companies and funding sources require that ABA services be provided by RBTs or other certified professionals to ensure quality and efficacy. Utilizing BHTs in an ABA clinic might lead to difficulties with insurance reimbursement and funding, potentially limiting access to treatment for clients.

  6. Public perception and trust: Relying on BHTs instead of RBTs could negatively impact the public perception of the ABA clinic. The RBT certification is a recognized and respected credential in the field, and clients and their families may feel more confident entrusting their care to professionals with this designation.


What to watch out for: Facility Security
A secure facility is essential for the safety and well-being of your child. Look for ABA providers with adequate security measures, such as electromagnetic coded doors, surveillance cameras, and strict visitor protocols. These features ensure that your child is protected while receiving treatment.


What to watch out for: Morally Grounded Core Values

The treatment team should have a strong set of morally grounded core values that guide their practice. These values can include compassion, respect, integrity, and a commitment to evidence-based practice. By choosing a provider with a strong ethical foundation, you can feel confident that your child's best interests are always prioritized.


What to watch out for:  Parent and Sibling Training

An effective ABA provider should offer regular parent and sibling training sessions. This training helps families understand the principles of ABA, equips them with strategies to support their loved one, and fosters a more cohesive home environment. Inquire about the provider's approach to family involvement and the resources they offer to help parents and siblings better support their loved one.


What to watch out for: Transparent Treatment Environment

Transparency in the treatment process is essential for building trust between the provider, the child, and the family. A transparent environment can be achieved through the occasional supervision of treatment sessions by parents, using tools such as one-way mirrors or live video feeds. This level of transparency allows parents to observe their child's progress, understand the treatment methods, and feel confident that their child is receiving the best care possible.

In Conclusion

Choosing the right Tulsa ABA Therapy provider is a critical decision for families with children with autism and other developmental disabilities. By prioritizing educational qualifications, interviewing multiple providers, selecting a locally owned facility, and ensuring adequate security, morally grounded core values, and a transparent treatment environment, parents can feel confident in their choice. Ultimately, finding the right provider will lead to a more effective treatment experience and a better outcome for your child.

I hope you find this article helpful!  Good luck with your search! 


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