Shortage of applied behavior analysis providers exists for children with ASD
As the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder continues to rise in the United States, the supply of certified applied behavior analysis providers to match the demand for treatment has fallen significantly short, according to study findings published in Psychiatric Services.
“There is an insufficient supply of applied behavior analysis providers in nearly all states in the U.S.,” Yidan Xue Zhang, MC, of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, told Healio Psychiatry. “We need to increase the supply of autism service providers to improve treatment access for children with autism.”
Zhang and Janet R. Cummings, PhD, also of the Rollins School of Public Health, used the online database of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board to obtain state-level data on the total number of certified applied behavior analysis providers in the U.S. They compared the per capita supply of each state’s certified providers with a benchmark established using the board’s guidelines. They also examined regional and state variations in the supply of certified providers.
The researchers reported that the per capita supply of certified applied behavior analysis providers was below the benchmark in 49 states and was higher in the Northeast than in other regions (P < .001), as well as in states with the highest level of public education spending. Massachusetts was the only state to exceed the benchmark.
“Efforts to improve screening and early identification of children with ASD may not translate into the receipt of evidence-based services, such as applied behavior analysis, if there is an insufficient supply of providers available to treat this population,” Zhang said. – by Joe Gramigna
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.