New law raises bar for behavior analysts in Texas

Behavior analysts will need to secure state-issued license to practice

By Tiffany Huertas - Video Journalist , David Ibanez - Web - Managing Editor

SAN ANTONIO - Behavioral analysts will need to secure a state-issued license in order to practice in Texas, beginning in September 2018.

A bill passed by the Texas Legislature was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in June.

Currently, the Behavior Analysts Certification Board requires a behavior analyst to have at least a master's degree and other requirements. Under the new law, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations will be in charge of overseeing the licenses.

"The credibility is already there with the board and the standards that they hold us to maintaining our credentials, but I think with licensure, it's definitely going to introduce us as another service provider for a market that may not be as familiar with us as they are with occupational therapist, speech therapist," said board-certified behavior analyst Wendy Guffey. "Now, they are going to be welcoming a new discipline, a new service provider, which are behavioral analysts."

Guffey is among several professionals who lead the programs at the Arc of San Antonio, which provides services to people with intellectual and/or other developmental disabilities.

"(The) hallmarks of our work is that it is individualized and tailored to the person that I am working with," she said. "So from the assessments to the development of the treatment plan and the intervention that are going to be implemented, it is specific to that person I am working with."

Arlene Shearn said she appreciates the work behavior analysts do. She said it took nine months to search for the right facility for her 24-year-old special needs son, Murphy.

"Unfortunately, after they age out of the school system, our young adults have nowhere to go, and no purpose to get up in the morning, and the ARC gives my son a purpose every morning," Shearn said.

"It is estimated that 100 young adults with autism and other disabilities are aging out of San Antonio schools each year, and those individuals need a place to go," Andie McClendon, development manager at The Arc of San Antonio, said.

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