Toolbox Tuesday!! Here’s an opportunity for all you UBAs to become LBAs.

Are you a UBA?  I am.  I am an “Unlicensed Behavior Analyst.”  I never thought much about this until the passage of SB 589, which will create a group of LBAs—people who have a license to analyze behavior.  SB 589 creates the Behavior Analyst Licensing Act.  This new law puts “behavior analysts” under the jurisdiction of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

Of course this leads to the obvious question: what makes a person a “behavior analyst”? If a “behavior analyst” is a person who analyzes behavior then we are all behavior analysts. And we are doing this without a license!

I do most of my unlicensed analysis while driving. I analyze the other drivers and categorize them into “maniacs” (too fast) “idiots” (too slow) “selfish people” (won’t move over for me) and “those too stupid to operate heavy machinery” (those who apparently cannot read road signs).

There is nothing in this new law that will prohibit me from continuing my behavior analysis activities. However, I will not be able to describe myself as a “licensed behavior analyst.”  To hold myself out with that title, I will have to meet the licensing requirements set up by the new law.

But if I want to practice “applied behavior analysis” I will have to obtain a license. Here is the key definition:

The practice of applied behavior analysis is the design, implementation and evaluation of instructional and environmental modifications to produce socially significant improvements in human behavior.

The practice of applied behavior analysis includes the empirical identification of functional relations between behavior and environmental factors, known as functional assessment or functional analysis.

Applied behavior analysis interventions (1) are based on scientific research and the direct observation and measurement of behavior and environment; and (2) use contextual factors, motivating operations, antecedent stimuli, positive reinforcement, and other procedures to help individuals develop new behaviors, increase or decrease existing behaviors, and elicit or evoke behaviors under specific environmental conditions.

Many people do things similar to this, but are excluded from the scope of this new law.  The statute says that “applied behavior analysis” is not the same as: “psychological testing, psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, psychoanalysis, hypnotherapy, or counseling as treatment modalities.”

Then there is a lengthy list of people who do things involving behavior, but are not covered by this law. They include: 1) psychologists; 2) family members who are implementing a behavior treatment plan; 3) paraprofessionals working under proper supervision; 4) students, interns and fellows; 5) people pursuing supervised experience in the field; 6) temporary services provided by someone licensed in another state; 7) animal behaviorists or trainers; and 8) school employees.

The school employee exception says:

This chapter does not apply to a teacher or employee of a private or public school who provides applied behavior analysis services if the teacher or employee is performing duties within the scope of the teacher’s or employee’s employment.

However, that teacher or employee may not hold themselves out as a “behavior analyst” unless the services they provide are within their education, training and competence.  Nor can they be paid extra for these services, or offer them outside of their work responsibilities in the school.

There are many unanswered questions about this new law but we have plenty of time to sort it all out.  The requirement to hold a license does not go into effect until September 1, 2018.  That provides time for the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation to create the nine-member “Behavior Analyst Advisory Board” and to establish rules and licensure standards.

We talk a lot about behavior and how to improve it in the Toolbox training. This is an all day program focused on campus administrators and special education staff.  The goal is to equip educators to provide an appropriate education to every student, while maintaining a safe and orderly campus. If interested, let me know!


File this one under: LEGISLATION 2017

Tomorrow: a new law regarding dyslexia….