The BACB has published an updated version of its autism spectrum disorder practice guidelines, now titled Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Practice Guidelines for Healthcare Funders and Managers (2nd ed.).

The guidelines were originally developed to provide guidance to healthcare funders and managers, consumers, and service providers so that individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder receive applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment consistent with the best available scientific evidence and expert clinical opinion. Some of the unique features of ABA treatment that are addressed in the guidelines include: Training and Credentialing of Behavior Analysts; Assessment, Formulation of Treatment Goals, and Measurement of Client Progress; Service Authorization and Dosage; Tiered Service-Delivery Models and Behavior Technicians; and Case Supervision.

The BACB is pleased to offer this resource as a tool for general guidance and basic descriptions of typical ABA service delivery. As general guidelines, we expect that they will need to be tailored to fit individual, local, and regional requirements and needs.

Download the practice guidelines here

Development of the Guidelines

The BACB Board of Directors authorized the development of practice guidelines for ABA treatment of ASD in early 2012. The following procedures were followed to develop the initial and revised versions of the guidelines.

Version 1.0: A coordinator was appointed who then created a five-person oversight committee that designed the overall development process and content outline. The oversight committee then solicited additional content-area leaders and writers from a national pool of experts that included researchers and practitioners to produce a first draft of the guidelines. The coordinator, oversight committee, and BACB staff then generated a second draft that was reviewed by dozens of additional reviewers, which in addition to being comprised of experts in ABA also included consumers and experts in public policy. This second draft was also sent to all BACB directors for additional input. The project coordinator and BACB staff then used this feedback to produce the final document, which was approved by the BACB Board of Directors. The professionals who served as coordinator, oversight committee members, content-area leaders, content writers, and reviewers were all subject matter experts in ABA as evidenced by publication records, substantial experience providing ABA services, and leadership positions within the discipline.

Version 2.0: The original project coordinator and BACB leadership identified a team of doctoral-level behavior analysts, all of whom were experts in the ABA treatment of ASD. The team carefully reviewed the initial guidelines and, using a consensus process, proposed revisions and additions to the document to enhance clarity and supplement existing guidance. BACB staff then generated a revised draft that was sent to the project coordinator, revision team members, and public policy experts for additional feedback, after which the guidelines were finalized.

These standards are provided for informational purposes only and do not represent professional or legal advice. There are many variables that influence and direct the professional delivery of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. The BACB and authors of these standards assume no liability or responsibility for application of these standards in the delivery of ABA services. The standards presented in this document reflect the consensus of a number of subject matter experts, but do not represent the only acceptable practice. These standards also do not reflect or create any affiliation among those who participated in their development. The BACB does not warrant or guarantee that these standards will apply or should be applied in all settings. Instead, these standards are offered as an informational resource that should be considered in consultation with parents, behavior analysts, regulators, and healthcare funders and managers.