Hi and welcome to Ask Missy Mondays where I respond to a question from readers. Today’s question comes from a parent who is a regular reader (and poster) on our blog. Thanks Karen for your loyalty. Karen asks:
“What are general rules regarding supervision of the individual that provides ABA services?
How much oversight is required?
Is Supervision provided through data collection or intermittent on site visits?
How many students can the BCBA supervise ?
How is supervision validated?”
Thanks for stopping by our blog again! We love having repeat visitors.
BCBA Supervision Rules
We have different rules for supervision depending on who we are supervising.
Supervising a BCBA in Training
If we are supervising someone who is training to become a BCBA the board requires us to supervise them a minimum of 2 hours every other week. This process is very long and can take up to 2 years. In addition to the on-going supervision we provide to those in training, we have to complete a form each time we supervise the person. Additional information on this type of supervision may be found here.
Supervising a BCaBA in Training
We have strict rules for providing supervision to a student who is trying to become a BCaBA. This process is also lengthy and requires written feedback. Rules for this type of supervision may be found here.
Supervising a certified BCaBA (on-going)
If we are supervising a practicing BCaBA, we have different rules.The board requires only one hour per month of this type of supervision. However, annually, “at least two of these monthly supervision sessions shall be conducted in-person, to include direct observation of actual service provision with individuals”. Additional information may be found here.
Supervision of Non-Certified Implementers
Finally, our organization lacks specific requirements for supervising staff who implement our programs. We have an ethical duty to make sure that programs are being implemented appropriately. Depending on how much ABA a client is receiving, supervision needs would vary. For example, if a child is receiving 40 hours per week of ABA therapy, more supervision would be needed (2-4 hours per week) but if someone is only receiving 10 hours of therapy per week, they may receive only 1-2 hours per week of supervision. For a detailed list of our guidelines for responsible conduct including supervision recommendations click here.
How is Supervision Provided?
Supervision may be provided a number of ways. Obviously, face to face supervision, where the supervisor is watching the implementation, is ideal. However, this is not always possible. Thus, other types of supervision may be provided. Supervisors may watch live video feed, they may watch previously recorded video, they may have sessions over Skype or other similar technology (we use WebEx for privacy purposes).
How Many People Can a BCBA Supervise?
As supervisors, we have to carefully build our caseload so that all of our clients receive appropriate services. Again, there is no minimum number to follow. We have our guidelines for responsible conduct that we should follow. There are only so many hours in the day. While many people burn the candle at both ends, it is difficult to provide supervision while clients are sleeping. Thus, case loads should be reasonable. When I worked for a large provider, it was common for individuals to have 14-15 clients on their caseload.
How is Supervision Validated?
Supervision is validated in a number of ways. We prefer to use the feedback form during formal supervision. However, if the implementers are not seeking certification, it is not uncommon to provide supervision without written documentation. For example, yesterday, I provided supervision to staff for about 30 minutes regarding a client at his school. We did not document the session because neither implementers is seeking certification.
Supervision is a tricky issue. Your questions are completely appropriate. Please feel free to visit other sources of support.
- The Behavior Analysis Certification Board http://www.bacb.com
- The Association for Professional Behavior Analysts http://www.apbahome.net
- The Association for Behavior Analysts International http://www.abainternational.org
If you have concerns about the supervision your child receives, be sure to address it with the BCBA who is responsible for your child’s case. In some instances, the supervision may be limited to funding. If you want more supervision than is funded, consider paying for additional supervision. Perhaps additional staff should be brought on to help (e.g., I’m seeking a BCBA to assist me with cases). Finally, if you cannot get the issue resolved, consider asking for a new BCBA or report the individual to the BACB. You will need extensive documentation but it may result in more appropriate supervision for your child.
We hope that helps. And of course, come back and visit us often!