Professional self-regulation is the regulation of a profession by its members to protect the public from harm. This is a common form of regulation used in Australian professions.
Practitioners in the field of applied behaviour analysis (ABA) need to be regulated to ensure that they have the skills, competence, and ethics to deliver safe, high quality services and to promote consumer trust. There is no Australian regulatory body that is providing regulation and oversight of the practice of ABA in Australia.
There are many professionals who use ABA in their work and these professionals need an organisation that will provide regulation by identifying a standard criteria for practice and ongoing monitoring of the field. This will allow professionals to easily communicate their experience and training in the area of ABA to the public.
In recent years, there has been a demand for regulation of behaviour analysts from an Australian organisation. Historically, behaviour analysts have all been certified by one organisation that is the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). The BACB has been certifying behaviour analysts worldwide since 1998. They have developed educational and ethical standards to support the practice of ABA. Currently, there are 172,163 individuals certified by the BACB around the world (BACB, 2022). Certifications from the BACB are considered internationally recognised within the field of ABA.
Behaviour analysts in Australia faced challenges with the BACB certifications being recognised by the funding bodies and government agencies. The lack of recognition of the BACB certification in Australia has limited the work that can be done by behaviour analysts as well as funding options for services performed by behaviour analysts.
As of December 2019 the BACB announced that it will limit certification to a select number of countries. Currently, Australia is one of the countries where BACB certification is still available but the longevity of this option is unknown. This has highlighted the need for Australia to have its own regulatory body for behaviour analysts. ABA Australia saw the need of our field and felt that it was inline with our mission and objectives to take on this challenge and continue our efforts to disseminate safe and ethical practice of ABA.
We have developed and will maintain a registration process that ensures those who practise ABA have met a minimum of education and supervision requirements. We will be using a verified course sequence (VCS) that is managed by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (formally managed by the BACB).
Why? We believe that there needs to be a level of consistency in the theoretical knowledge of behaviour analysts and the VCS ensures that Australian behaviour analysts will have the same university training as other behaviour analysts and be able to compete for jobs in the international market.
Code of Ethical Behaviour
We have created and will maintain a code that outlines the ethical behaviour and standards of practice to ensure competent practice in the field of ABA. These have been created to fit the Australian context, the current values of the field, and to enhance public safety.
Professional Development Standards
We have set continuing professional development standards to ensure ongoing competencies of behaviour analysts.
We will publish a publicly available register of professionals who have met our regulation requirements. This will help the public to know who is and who is not qualified to practise ABA.
Professionals who use any application of ABA in their work, where the purpose is to enhance the quality of life for individuals in Australia. This includes all types of service delivery of ABA, examples include: early intervention, positive behaviour support, in-school supports, in-home supports, vocational supports, etc., for clients across the lifespan. We have adopted the definition of the “practice of applied behaviour analysis” from the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (2018).
“PRACTICE OF APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS. The design, implementation, and evaluation of instructional and environmental modifications to produce socially significant improvements in human behavior. The practice of applied behavior analysis includes the empirical identification of functional relations between behavior and environmental factors, known as functional assessment and analysis. Applied behavior analysis interventions are based on scientific research and direct and indirect observation and measurement of behavior and environment.
They utilize contextual factors, motivating operations, antecedent stimuli, positive reinforcement, and other procedures to help individuals develop new behaviors, increase or decrease existing behaviors, and emit behaviors under specific environmental conditions. The practice of applied behavior analysis excludes diagnosis of disorders, psychological testing, psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, psychoanalysis, and counseling.” (pp. 4-5)
Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (2018). Model Behavior Analyst Licensure Act. Retrieved from https://www.apbahome.net/general/recommended_links.asp.
Behavior Analyst Certification Board. (2022). BACB certificant data. Retrieved from https://www.bacb.com/BACB-certificant-data
This is a newly formed committee whose purpose to set up a national regulation for behaviour analysts using a self-regulation model. If you are interested in volunteering on this specific committee in one of the work groups please fill out this expression of interest