New York State ABA
By T. J. Cote
The New York State Association for Behavior Analysis (NYSABA) has had a great year, and we are excited to share our chapter update with ABAI for 2022. We have been busy with association projects, communicating with our membership, and advocating for the field of behavior analysis throughout New York State. With 2021 being another somewhat challenging year, NYSABA has been able to make progress in several areas this year. Most notably, we have hired a new executive director and we celebrated the passage of our scope bill on December 29, 2021!
On October 1, we hired Thomas J. (T. J.) Cote, MBA, CAE as our executive director. T. J. comes from the association world and has almost two decades of experience in organizational management, advocacy, working with licensed professions in NYS and member engagement.
T. J. is a Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) Scholar with the American Society of Association Executives, and received the lifetime achievement award before turning 40. T. J. has already made strides reviewing our budget and finding areas for increased revenue, jumped right into our advocacy work on our scope bill and positioning NYSABA amongst other licensed professions. We are in great hands with T. J. and we look forward to our future with him at the helm.
We are very excited to report that our scope expansion bill that removes the restriction on the scope of practice of behavior analysts to only working with individuals with autism or related disorders with a prescription for ABA passed! While the bill doesn’t go into effect until June 2023, we are working diligently on the regulatory roll out. This victory would not have been possible without our coalition partners, legislative champions, advocates and the countless members who shared our message with the NYS government.
NYSABA is pleased to see that ABA became a billable service under Medicaid in NYS over the Summer 2021, however, there are still some unresolved challenges to providing services to individuals diagnosed with autism/autistic individuals who are Medicaid enrollees. We have been working hard with various partners to resolve these issues. NYSABA will continue to work actively on these issues and will keep our members updated.
NYSABA continues to be a voice for the behavior analytic community in New York. Although NYSABA membership continues to grow, we need to focus on increasing the number of members to push forward with important legislative issues happening in the state.
Unfortunately, the number of licensed and certified behavior analysts in the state significantly outnumber the number of members in NYSABA. All behavior analysts in the state are urged to join NYSABA so that our collective voice can be heard by the state legislature. If you are not a member of NYSABA, become one. If you are already a member of NYSABA, get a colleague to join. If you and your colleagues are already members, we thank you and encourage you to become active in the association.
New York State licensing laws governing the practice of behavior analysis have been in effect since 2014. NYSABA has been doing important work educating behavior analysts about the licensing process and how to practice legally in New York State. We provide regular updates on our website and social media pages, hold events at our annual conference, and disseminate information at various events in New York. NYSABA continues to stay up to date with information coming from the New York State Office of Professions so that we can update our members about any issues affecting the practice of behavior analysis.
In October, we held our 32nd annual conference in a hybrid model. We were honored to hear keynote addresses from Amy Gravino and Dr. Jennifer Zarcone. Additionally, we welcomed six invited speakers including, Deb Thivierge, Dr. Leonard Epstein, Adrienne Bradley, Dr. Krista Clancy, Dr. Andrew Craig, and Joy Johnson. Topics included measuring behavior effects of psychotropic medication on challenging behavior, sexuality and the spectrum, navigating transition services, reinforcement pathology and obesity, a panel discussion of DEI in the field of ABA, taking a values-based approach to parent training, everyday leadership, family as a culture, considering race and neurodiversity in ABA, and a panel discussion surrounding experiences and perspectives on ABA.
Board members this year included Tricia Moss-Lourenco (president), Nancy Dib (president-elect), Nicole DeRosa (past president and conference chair), Linda Matey (treasurer), Vicki Knapp (secretary and marketing co-chair), Vanessa Patrone (representative at large and marketing co-chair), Joshua Jessel (representative at large and student activities chair), Elizabeth Drago (representative at large), Kenneth Shamlian (representative at large and membership chair), Fernande Ikombo-Deguenon (finance chair), Noor Syed (education chair), Bobbi Rogers (consumer representative and chair of the Parent and Family Committee), and Deborah Napolitano and Maureen O’Grady (legislative co-chairs). This year we also appointed Rachael Atherley as our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) chair, and Melissa Jackson, as our conference co-chair. Finally, we elected two new representatives at large—Sally Izquierdo and Ellie Mellon.
We are now planning for our 33rd annual conference to be held in Albany on October 27-29, 2022 which will include a great keynote and invited speakers. We will be accepting presentation and poster submissions from members. Also, check out our NYSABA website, and take a look at the NYSABA “Parent & Family” section of our website at www.nysabaparent.org, which includes free resources for parents and family members of consumers of behavior analysis services. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2022 from New York!