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Where’s Waldo, BCBA?

Submitted by on 02/25/2012 – 9:40 amNo Comment

New York is a lopsided state in terms of population, with the greatest number of people centered in the New York Metropolitan Area. Accordingly, most of the Board Certified Behavior Analysts serve “downstate” clients.  Approximately 82 % of the 625 BCBAs in the state of New York reside in the City and surrounding counties according to data from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. While this distribution approximates the population of the state, the demand exceeds the capacity of currently certified professionals. As a behavior analyst in the Southern Tier Region, I receive requests for services nearly every day. While this is a boon for me, it is a concern for consumers of behavioral services.

The demand for Applied Behavior Analyst’s services will increase dramatically when mandated insurance coverage for children with autism goes into effect. Public health and educational agencies do not publish the number of students in the state with autistic spectrum disorders, but the Center for Disease Control estimates the national average to be around .8% of 8 year old children have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The US Department of Education’s data from 2008-2009 school year identifies .7% of children with the educational classification of autism. The Children’s Defense Fund’s data states that there are 4,424,083 children living in New York. Calculations from these suggest that approximately 30,000 children in the State of New York have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. If every Behavior Analyst in the State provided services for these children, that would be a caseload of 48 clients per BCBA! Clearly, the field of Behavior Analysis is set for continued growth.

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