The field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) while it has been around for many years is still in many ways in the growth phases as a profession. Once such area is that of diversity and multicultural issues. It has only been within the past few years that meaningful conversations have really started to occur around the topic of multiculturalism and diversity issues in the field. I will give you a brief summary of the current status of the field in this area and opinions of where I think we still need to go.
CURRENT STATUS ON DIVERSITY
statistics are lacking
Unfortunately it is hard to know exactly the current status of minorities in the field of ABA because the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) does not report the demographics of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs), or Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs). The only data available are in regards to the number of certificants and the practice areas of those certificants. According to a study by Nosik & Grow (2015), the majority of behavior analysts are women (82.2%). This does not necessarily match the gender of individuals being served by behavior analysts. Data show that most behavior analysts tend to work in practice areas with individuals with autism and the majority of clients with autism are males with 1 in 37 boys being diagnosed with autism each year (Autism Speaks, 2018). Other than gender data, there is no publicly available demographic data pertaining to certified professionals in ABA through the BACB, Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), or the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) as it relates to race, ethnicity, religious/spiritual affiliation, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Therefore, there is no accessible information on the percentage of behavior analytic professionals identifying as minorities or belonging to other diverse groups. This is concerning because there is no understanding then if the population of behavior analytic professionals are matching the demographics of the populations being serviced with behavior analysis.
Congratulations on wanting to take the first steps to develop your own ABA agency! This can be a rewarding yet overwhelming endeavor if you do not know where to begin. In this blog I look to offer you some tips on how to develop your agency.
1. COME UP WITH YOUR ABA AGENCY NAME.
Before you get started with your ABA agency, you will want to research and come up with your name. It is possible that someone else might have already picked the name you wanted. The best way to check is through your state's business registry website. You can then find out if someone currently has your business name and adjust it accordingly. Remember to think about what might drive an audience or client to your ABA agency and do not select a name that is either too ambiguous or specific. You also want to think of something that might catchy and easy for someone to remember.
2. DEVELOP A BUSINESS PLAN.
In order for any business to be successful there must be a clear roadmap of where the organization is going. You will want to figure out what is your organization's mission, what services are being offered, what services are being offered, who your competitors will be in the area, etc. The U.S. Small Business Administration has some great resources on business plan development and often have local offices where you can meet with professionals for coaching for developing your business.
3. SPEAK WITH AN ATTORNEY and accountant.
To begin your agency you will need to complete paperwork to register your business in your state and with the federal government. You can do this on your own, but it is advisable to have an attorney and/or an accountant involved to assist you with this process to ensure that you have done everything correctly. Also, determine all of your insurances that will be needed (e.g., general liability, worker's compensation, professional liability, etc.)