Alright – so, what the heck is the BACB board? who is on it? why does it matter to autism families and why the heck should we care?
Lots of questions and so many answers. Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB) is where Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapists get certified. It has all white-board members. In fact, I don’t remember ever being diverse nor reflecting the autism community. Why should we care? such a good question. Let me back up for a minute and explain more about ABA therapy. It is arguably one of the most (if not the most) effective autism therapy there is today. It is a powerful method that teaches children and adults with autism functional life-long skills that enhance their quality of life and enables them to live as productive members of society.
I am a huge fan of ABA, so much so that I went back to school (at age 90) and got a master’s degree in it. I use this with my own son every day to teach and help him. It does wonders for behaviors, language, social, and self-care skills to mention a few.
We know that autism is high in our Somali kids in Minnesota. We also know that autism is high in this country and children of color get diagnosed later. All behaviors are embedded in their culture. Thus, the importance to have the board that oversees this to reflect the people it is supposed to serve. Now, ABA doesn’t just help autism families. You can actually use ABA therapy in companies, hospitals, daycare centers, and so many other areas. But, I only care and understand about autism, so I will concentrate on that in this blog.
At any rate, not only is the board for this wonderful therapy non-minority – but the few people there have been sitting in these seats for a long time. I think it is time to replace all of these vanilla board members with people who are diverse, kind, compassionate, and most of all approachable. As though that wasn’t bad enough, I have only seen less than five diverse certified ABA therapists. This can not simply be. The rules and guidelines of this all vanilla board must reflect our diverse communities and our families – full stop. They must be person-centered, family-focused, and culturally responsive.
The above words do not reflect any candidate, agency, or committee.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom