By Melissa S. Saunders
The Connecticut ABA (CTABA) Board had a productive 2021. Our Continuing Education, Membership, Organizational Members/Sponsorship, Public Policy & Legislative Outreach (PPLO), Technology, Student and Early Career Support, Public Schools, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice and Professional Issues committees have remained active and have allowed for member participation across this past year, even with the continued struggles we’ve faced in our second year of navigating the pandemic. Our Board of Directors (BOD) has worked over the past year to refine policies and procedures with the goal of more effectively meeting our mission and vision.
The PPLO committee has continued to focus on legislative and regulatory areas of priority identified through its annual Legislative Needs Survey and organizational representation on the PPLO committee. Priorities for 2022 include increased equity between Medicaid ABA and commercially funded programs, DOE certification for behavior analysts with equivalent experiences in schools, Mental Health Parity within ABA services, and broader transition options for families who are exiting early intervention services. As such, the PPLO committee has met with the Office of the Healthcare Advocate, the Office of the Child Advocate, the Department of Social Services, and the Department of Education and Department of Insurance to advocate for systems which support quality provision of services across the state. The Professional Issues committee is in the early stages of establishing a directory to connect Behavior Analysts within the state with those who have specialized expertise or experience and are willing to establish mentorship relationships with early career behavior analysts. So far, the interest has been encouraging, we have several members who’ve volunteered to be listed on the directory as well as members who would like to connect with mentors. We are thrilled to offer this important resource to our membership. The Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice Committee (DESJ) has worked to build leadership within the committee this last year and in doing so, projects are underway. The committee is focusing on identifying the experiences of individuals within CT to establish a baseline of needs both within and outside of the CTABA community. Through this process the vision, mission, and work of the committee will be iteratively refined. The DESJ views diversity and equity as essential to CTABA’s success and efficiency in meeting the organization’s mission.
Between March 3-4, we held our 18th annual state conference virtually, maintaining the number of registrants from the previous year. We had over 400 individuals registered including members and non-members. Our organizational members and sponsors represented over 20 organizations. We are greatly appreciative of our conference chair, Erin Costa, MS., BCBA (CT) and the committee members, who managed to put together an excellent and well-rounded conference. Our annual 2-day event included pre-conference workshops with Dr. Noor Syed, Dr. Mary Jane Wiess, Dr. Evelyn Gould, Stephen Wood and Dr. Missy Olive. On conference day we had a group of well-rounded presenters including a morning keynote by Dr. Noor Syed, followed by sessions with Dr. Christina Alligood, Stephen Wood, Dr. Laurie Sperry, Dr. Florence DiGennaro Reed, Dr. Adithyan (Dithu) Rajaraman, Dr. Ravit Stein, Dr. Rose Jaffery, Dr. Melissa Saunders, Dr. Justin Leaf, Dr. Steve Woolf, Kelly Bermingham and closing out the conference with an outstanding ending keynote delivered by Dr. Mary Jane Weiss. Since 2013, CT ABA recognizes an outstanding student in behavior analysis each year in memory of Rachel D’Avino, a Connecticut student of behavior analysis who was killed in the Newtown school shooting. This year Tara Woodruff, a student attending the University of Saint Joseph for a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis, received the award. Congratulations Tara!
Our state continues to see dramatic growth in the numbers of BACB credentialed practitioners including 492 licensed behavior analysts registered with the CT Department of Public Health. 1110 Board Certified Behavior Analysts live in CT. 922 Registered Behavior Technicians reside in CT, all of whom must be supervised for 5% of their work in ABA. Our last membership reporting is 440. We also have 19 organizational members. CTABA continues to work to streamline its backend membership processes including database management.
Finally, we have added five new Board of directors to start their cycle in 2022. The Board has been able to broaden its representation to include individuals with differing cultural backgrounds and professional experience (e.g., history of working as an RBT and inner-city schools). We look forward to incorporating fresh ideas into the efforts we have underway and our continued role as the voice of behavior analysis in Connecticut. Please go to www.ctaba.org for a list of our current Board of Directors and other information regarding CT ABA.