BCBA stands for Board Certified Behavior Analyst and are also known as mental health professionals. They hold a certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) which means they are able to provide and supervise behavior analysis services by identifying the function of behavior and analyze how behaviors are affected by the environment. A BCBA must have a master level degree.
A BCBA will conduct initial assessments prior to beginning services, create and prescribe a treatment plan, and create/monitor goals to ensure the client is making progress towards achieving their goals.
The BCBA collaborates with families as well as with other disciplines that the client may attend such as Speech, OT, PT, teachers etc. Collaboration is about working with others in order to help the client reach their goals, to become independent, and live a fuller life. Methods of teaching observed during a session can include discrete trial training (breaking a hard task into simple steps and teaching one step at a time), naturalistic learning, using a reinforcement system, and possibly teach communication skills if needed. Sessions are conducted as naturalistic as possible, using the client’s interests and motivations to drive each lesson, making it as fun and enjoyable as possible for each learner.
A BCBA is responsible for monitoring a client’s services. ABA services are provided by a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) and the BCBA observes the child, monitors the RBT providing services, and evaluates the data and progress made towards their goals.
Once the RBT has collected data, the BCBA analyzes it and responds accordingly. If progress is being made, the program continues to be conducted as designed. However, if there appears to be a lack of progress, the program is evaluated and the BCBA determines what needs to be modified or adapted to help the client move towards his or her goals. The BCBA analyzes information and determines appropriate interventions as well as teaches other to apply those techniques to achieve the client’s objectives.
BCBAs conduct and provide ongoing training to staff as it related to clients and within the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Concerns or challenges are addressed during training and support is provided to the RBT to help overcome this. The BCBA develops policies and procedures as well as provides support in crisis situations.
In addition to supervising services, the BCBA meets with parents to provide guidance and assist parents on using applied behavior analysis to help their children. Parents can share concerns with the BCBA and together provide effective strategies on addressing those concerns.
Parent meetings may be a structured lesson or a naturalistic approach in the home during daily routines.
So, what is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst?
- BCBA is an advocate, they are there to help the client in various situations.
- BCBA is a supervisor, supervising others who implement the programs.
- BCBA is a life-long learner, continuing to learn and stay up to date with evidence-based practices and research by attending trainings, webinars, seminars, etc.
- BCBA is a consultant, they can meet with organizations, schools, etc. to create solutions and help the client address their goals.
- BCBA is an educator, their role is to educate others on how to implement applied behavior analysis techniques.