Why a Certified Behaviour Analyst (CBA) should supervise your child’s ABA program

Anita Bennett-Stewart

Anita Bennett-Stewart

Behavioural Sleep Specialist & Behaviour Consultant

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Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is the science of behaviour and learning applied to our daily lives to improve our quality of life. Certified Behaviour Analysts (CBA) are certified practitioners in Behaviour Analysis in Australia with the knowledge and experience to supervise ABA interventions. Although there are many subspecialties in ABA, most practitioners provide early intensive behavioural intervention for Autistic children, as we do at Super Kids. Australian survey research indicates that of the clinicians who designed, supervised, and delivered ABA-based programs in Australia, only 31% of ABA held a BCBA credential and 80% had a graduate degree (Leif, et al., 2020). Whilst many of these practitioners had high levels of education and some of the qualifications held by practitioners were in fields related to ABA, such as Positive Behaviour Support and Psychology, these qualifications may not have provided in-depth training in the science and professional practice of ABA. So why is it important to have a BCBA or CBA supervise your child’s ABA program?

What is a CBA?

A Certified Behaviour Analyst’s (CBA) are practitioners who are fully educated and competent in providing expert advice on behaviour change within Australia. To become a CBA, a practitioner must have completed at least:

  • A PhD or masters degree, including or in addition to at least 270 hours of education in Behaviour Analysis
  • At least 1500 hours of experience in Behaviour Analysis, including a least 75 hours of supervision with an already certified Behaviour Analyst
  • A successful application to become a Certified Behaviour Analyst with the Association for Behaviour Analysis Australia

CBAs are professionals certified by ABA Australia. They maintain the self-regulated field of Behaviour Analysis in Australia. The list above indicates only the minimum requirements for education and experience required to apply for certification. Practitioners must then maintain high ethical and professional development standards to maintain this credential each year.

To learn more about what a CBA is and how this credential is achieved, check out our blog here

 

Why is being a CBA so important?

Credentialling as a Certified Behaviour Analyst indicates that the practitioner has completed the gold-standard of experience and education in Behaviour Analysis. It means they have the highest level of credential within Australia. This can take a Behaviour Analyst at least 2 years to complete. By maintaining high standards for CBA applicants, this ensures the CBA has the minimum level of knowledge and experience required to supervise Behaviour Analytic programs.

Certification not only includes education and experience, but also maintenance of ethical standards under the ABA Australia Code of Ethical Practice and ongoing professional development to maintain their expertise throughout their career.

Certified Behaviour Analysts must maintain ethical standards in the ABA Australia Code of Ethical Practice. If these ethical standards are not met, a complaint may be made and this will be investigated further by ABA Australia. Consumers can therefore expect practitioners certified with ABA Australia to uphold their professional responsibility to their clients.

Certified Behaviour Analysts must also maintain at least 24 hours of ongoing professional development in general areas of practice, but also in Ethics and Cultural Diversity, Equality and Inclusion. Requiring practitioners to engage in ongoing professional development signals to consumers that CBAs are committed to their ongoing development of knowledge in Behaviour Analysis in order to best serve their clients.

 

When did CBA certification become available in Australia?

Certification in Behaviour Analysis is self-regulated by ABAA in Australia and became available in late 2022. As of December 2023, there are now 492 members of ABAA in the country, including but not limited to CBAs (ABAA, 2023). The recent development of certification of Behaviour Analysts in Australia is incredibly exciting! 

Many Behaviour Analysts in Australia may hold a second credential, a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst which is a credential under the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board (BACB) in the USA. This is a similar level of credentialling indicating the level of experience and knowledge required to supervise ABA interventions. 

 

How can I find out if my ABA program supervisor is certified by ABAA?

If you are unsure if your practitioner is certified, consumers may visit the ABAA website and search for a practitioner by name. This will indicate if they are certified by ABAA and at what certification level.

At Super Kids, we are looking forward to continuing to see the profession of Behaviour Analysis in Australia develop. While the opportunity for certification in Behaviour Analysis in Australia is relatively new, we believe that achieving the highest levels of credential is important to indicate our commitment to our clients and Behaviour Analysis in Australia. To learn more about the recent changes in credentialling in Australia, please visit ABAA: www.auaba.com.au 

0422 457 363

9/56 Buffalo Rd, Gladesville NSW , 2111

0422 457 363

9/56 Buffalo Rd, Gladesville NSW , 2111

Super Kids acknowledges each individual’s personal preference to use identity-first or person-first language to describe themselves or their loved one. We interchangeably use both language conventions and therefore refer to both autistic children and children with autism.