Hi and welcome to Ask Missy Mondays where I respond to a question from readers. Today’s post is a follow-up to a previous post on Supervision where Karen had asked “what are the rules on ABA supervision?”
Recently, the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) issued a document related to practice guidelines. While the practice guidelines are specifically related to the provision of ABA services for individuals with autism, readers are provided with clarity regarding the supervision expectations for clients.
The BACB has this to say about on-going supervision of ABA services:
“Although the amount of supervision for each case must be responsive to individual client needs, 1-2 hours for every 10 hours of direct treatment is the general standard of care. When direct treatment is 10 hours per week or less, a minimum of 2 hours per week of clinical management and case supervision is generally required. Clinical management and case supervision may need to be temporarily increased to meet the needs of individual clients at specific time periods in treatment (e.g., intake, assessment, significant change in response to treatment).
A number of factors increase or decrease clinical management and case supervision needs on a shorter- or longer-term basis. These include:
• treatment dosage/intensity
• client behavior problems (especially if dangerous or destructive)
• the sophistication or complexity of treatment protocols
• the ecology of the family or community environment
• lack of progress or increased rate of progress
• changes in treatment protocols
• transitions with implications for continuity of care
Within the same document, the BACB discusses case loads for BCBAs. Specifically, they suggest:
- The average caseload for one (1) Behavior Analyst supervising comprehensive treatment without support by a BCaBA is 6 – 12.
- The average caseload for one (1) Behavior Analyst supervising comprehensive treatment with support by one (1) BCaBA is 12 – 16. Additional BCaBAs permit modest increases in caseloads.
- The average caseload for one (1) Behavior Analyst supervising focused treatment without support of a BCaBA is 10 – 15.
- The average caseload for one (1) Behavior Analyst supervising focused treatment with support of one (1) BCaBA is 16 – 24.
- As stated earlier, even if there is a BCaBA assigned to a case, the Behavior Analyst is ultimately responsible for all aspects of case management and clinical direction. In addition, it is expected that the Behavior Analyst will provide direct supervision 2-4 times per month.
Keep in mind that these recommendations are related to comprehensive programs for children with autism.
We hope this helps to clarify our previous suggestions about supervision of ABA programs. We applaud the BACB for providing these guidelines that will prove helpful to behavior analysts, parents, and school district staff alike.