Utah bill would license autism behavior analysts

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AspieUtah
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23 Feb 2015, 2:19 pm

Utah.gov wrote:
This bill amends the Psychologist Licensing Act to establish a license for an applied behavior analyst and an assistant behavior analyst and a registration for a behavior specialist and an assistant behavior specialist.

S.B. 246 -- Licensing of Autism Providers (Sen. Shiozawa, B.)
http://le.utah.gov/~2015/bills/static/SB0246.html

This bill appears to be a step toward recognizing that diagnoses of ASDs aren't necessarily a psychological purview (not that it is prohibiting such diagnoses by psychology professionals).

Or, am I wrong?


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B19
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23 Feb 2015, 2:36 pm

This is baffling to me. What is the hidden agenda behind this bill? What is the bill promoter's history? Who is really driving this bill, if this man is a figurehead, and why? It's quite alarming to read. Why this? Why now? Who benefits? These are 3 very very important questions that need answers...

Psychologists, by definition, specialise in patterns of behaviour - how they develop, how to alter them, or sustain them, ameliorate or maximise them. That is what psychology is. Behaviour is defined in a way so as to include thought patterns, emotional patterns, etc; it is not just outer behaviour. Some psychologists are "behaviorists" - ie they may only be interested in outward behaviour and uninterested in internal causation; some kind of bridge the area between thought and behaviour (CBT is essentially behaviourist); most are not behaviourists, (but humanists) because they see human behaviour as internally motivated in one way or another and stemming from multiple causation, inner factors like personality and experience, genetics et al. Complex and the factors go to the heart of being human.

We have "behaviourist" psychologists in New Zealand (mostly they practice form of CBT). Our laws and international treaty obligations prevent them (thank goodness) from physically harming children in any way. To physically harm a child for any reason other than in the course of medical treatment (eg a spinal tap) is illegal here. I so wish this was the case in the USA.

As psychologists in any event are already licensed to "treat" behaviour, why do you need this bill at all? Why legislate further? It's not necessary.



B19
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23 Feb 2015, 3:12 pm

Autism Speaks and Autism Utah appear to be driving this bill.

One of the claims is that the incidence of autism in the the USA is the highest in Utah, and this spurious "statistic" is being used as one argument in favour of the bill by members of these organisations.

You can contact the senator directly by email to register your protest, his email address is on his webpage.



The_Walrus
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23 Feb 2015, 3:21 pm

Licenses for ABA? Is that good or bad? Will it cut out the worst ABA practitioners, or just give validity to the profession as a whole?



AspieUtah
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23 Feb 2015, 3:28 pm

Hi, B19! I was hoping that you would comment about this topic because I amn't able to fully appreciate whether it is good or not. I didn't know about the Autism Speaks connection. Hm. :?

First, I should have written that the bill appears to be a "step toward recognizing that treating of ASDs aren't necessarily a psychological purview." I am sorry for that mistake.

The legislator is serving his first term as a state senator. He is a physician http://senate.utah.gov/senators/district8.html and has served in leadership positions with many medical groups and corporations. Last year, he sponsored a bill successfully last year http://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/SB0057.html which required that "a health benefit plan offered or renewed in the individual market or large group market [...] to provide coverage for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder for children 2 to 9 years of age[.]" His senatorial district is about two blocks south of my home, and includes about as much of a mixed demographic as possible in Utah.

In 2013, he sponsored a bill unsuccessfully which would have appropriated $1.5 million to the pilot program for treatment of childhood autism spectrum disorders services in the state's Medicaid program http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/static/SB0055.html .

I suppose that he supports the necessary funding of ASD treatment. I don't see much of the "devil in the details," but I amn't a professional who is or would be affected by his work.


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Diagnosed in 2015 with ASD Level 1 by the University of Utah Health Care Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic using the ADOS-2 Module 4 assessment instrument [11/30] -- Screened in 2014 with ASD by using the University of Cambridge Autism Research Centre AQ (Adult) [43/50]; EQ-60 for adults [11/80]; FQ [43/135]; SQ (Adult) [130/150] self-reported screening inventories -- Assessed since 1978 with an estimated IQ [≈145] by several clinicians -- Contact on WrongPlanet.net by private message (PM)


B19
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23 Feb 2015, 3:47 pm

134 (6) "Registered behavior specialist" means an individual who:
135 (a) is employed:
136 (i) as a professional engaging in the practice of behavior analysis within an
137 organization contracted under a division of the Utah Department of Human Services to provide
138 behavior analysis; and
139 (ii) on or before May 15, 2015;
140 (b) limits the practice of behavior analysis to the contract described in Subsection
141 (6)(a)(i); and
142 (c) is registered under this part with the division to engage in the practice of behavior
143 analysis.

It's bad. What it seeks to do is to expand the practice of ABA and who can practice it, as an "assistant".
This aim is totally consistent with Autism Speaks and related organisations. The Registered Behavioural Specialist designation in this bill is specifically not licensed to look at any other cause of the behaviour and is therefore prohibited BY LAW from looking beyond ABA to causes. This tunnel vision is dangerous to autistic people, particularly those in abusive families - and there seem to be plenty of those. It is an appalling piece of proposed legislation, and once again, contravenes UN treaties that only the USA and Somalia refuse to ratify. No wonder then that Autism Speaks are crowing in support of it.



AspieUtah
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23 Feb 2015, 4:01 pm

B19 wrote:
134 (6) "Registered behavior specialist" means an individual who:
135 (a) is employed:
136 (i) as a professional engaging in the practice of behavior analysis within an
137 organization contracted under a division of the Utah Department of Human Services to provide
138 behavior analysis; and
139 (ii) on or before May 15, 2015;
140 (b) limits the practice of behavior analysis to the contract described in Subsection
141 (6)(a)(i); and
142 (c) is registered under this part with the division to engage in the practice of behavior
143 analysis.

It's bad. What it seeks to do is to expand the practice of ABA and who can practice it, as an "assistant".
This aim is totally consistent with Autism Speaks and related organisations. The Registered Behavioural Specialist designation in this bill is specifically not licensed to look at any other cause of the behaviour and is therefore prohibited BY LAW from looking beyond ABA to causes. This tunnel vision is dangerous to autistic people, particularly those in abusive families - and there seem to be plenty of those. It is an appalling piece of proposed legislation, and once again, contravenes UN treaties that only the USA and Somalia refuse to ratify. No wonder then that Autism Speaks are crowing in support of it.

This is pretty new to me. But, it appears questionable. In your opinion, how could this bill be changed to "blunt the sword" of its effect should it be adopted? Or, is it so bad that no change would make it better?

Also, do you know of any research papers that accurately describe the challenges or unintended consequences of ABA?


_________________
Diagnosed in 2015 with ASD Level 1 by the University of Utah Health Care Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic using the ADOS-2 Module 4 assessment instrument [11/30] -- Screened in 2014 with ASD by using the University of Cambridge Autism Research Centre AQ (Adult) [43/50]; EQ-60 for adults [11/80]; FQ [43/135]; SQ (Adult) [130/150] self-reported screening inventories -- Assessed since 1978 with an estimated IQ [≈145] by several clinicians -- Contact on WrongPlanet.net by private message (PM)


B19
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23 Feb 2015, 4:07 pm

AspieUtah wrote:
Hi, B19! I was hoping that you would comment about this topic because I amn't able to fully appreciate whether it is good or not. I didn't know about the Autism Speaks connection. Hm. :?

First, I should have written that the bill appears to be a "step toward recognizing that treating of ASDs aren't necessarily a psychological purview." I am sorry for that mistake.

The legislator is serving his first term as a state senator. He is a physician http://senate.utah.gov/senators/district8.html and has served in leadership positions with many medical groups and corporations. Last year, he sponsored a bill successfully last year http://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/static/SB0057.html which required that "a health benefit plan offered or renewed in the individual market or large group market [...] to provide coverage for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder for children 2 to 9 years of age[.]" His senatorial district is about two blocks south of my home, and includes about as much of a mixed demographic as possible in Utah.

In 2013, he sponsored a bill unsuccessfully which would have appropriated $1.5 million to the pilot program for treatment of childhood autism spectrum disorders services in the state's Medicaid program http://le.utah.gov/~2013/bills/static/SB0055.html .

I suppose that he supports the necessary funding of ASD treatment. I don't see much of the "devil in the details," but I amn't a professional who is or would be affected by his work.


Hi to you too, Aspie Utah. Sometimes it is easier for an outsider to see what is going on - the distance broadens perspective. Autism Speaks has published its strategy of getting ABA recognised as the gold standard treatment for autistic people in the whole of the USA, and it's promotion strategy is to get Bills like this one introduced state by state until all states have the legislation in place, (they have published maps showing progress to date) and the AS role is to give backing to local in-state groups like Autism Utah to do the local lobbying, as well as supplying the overall umbrella support for the local lobbying.

If this Bill passes, it is essentially another victory for Autism Speaks, which must be recognised for what it is - a political organisation, not a service organisation - and it seems to target republican politicians who are conservative, like this one in Utah.

This IMO should set off very loud alarm bells in the autistic community and if the community does not lobby/protest and instead remains silent, then Autism Speaks and its sister organisations will try to make sure that the silence is construed as consent. They will claim that the silence/lack of protest means that autistic people want this "cure".

It is time to put pressure on the UN to ask the USA goverment why it has not ratified the treaties that protect children from torture and disregard for their well-being - two treaties apply. You can write to the UN Committee which overseas these treaties and non-compliant countries. You can say that you are ashamed, as a USA citizen, that your country is on par with Somalia, and ask for pressure for the USA to ratify UNCROC to be prioritised given that without it, children are being tortured by ABA.



B19
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23 Feb 2015, 4:14 pm

AspieUtah wrote:
B19 wrote:
134 (6) "Registered behavior specialist" means an individual who:
135 (a) is employed:
136 (i) as a professional engaging in the practice of behavior analysis within an
137 organization contracted under a division of the Utah Department of Human Services to provide
138 behavior analysis; and
139 (ii) on or before May 15, 2015;
140 (b) limits the practice of behavior analysis to the contract described in Subsection
141 (6)(a)(i); and
142 (c) is registered under this part with the division to engage in the practice of behavior
143 analysis.

It's bad. What it seeks to do is to expand the practice of ABA and who can practice it, as an "assistant".
This aim is totally consistent with Autism Speaks and related organisations. The Registered Behavioural Specialist designation in this bill is specifically not licensed to look at any other cause of the behaviour and is therefore prohibited BY LAW from looking beyond ABA to causes. This tunnel vision is dangerous to autistic people, particularly those in abusive families - and there seem to be plenty of those. It is an appalling piece of proposed legislation, and once again, contravenes UN treaties that only the USA and Somalia refuse to ratify. No wonder then that Autism Speaks are crowing in support of it.

This is pretty new to me. But, it appears questionable. In your opinion, how could this bill be changed to "blunt the sword" of its effect should it be adopted? Or, is it so bad that no change would make it better?

Also, do you know of any research papers that accurately describe the challenges or unintended consequences of ABA?


You may or may not be aware of me stating in another thread some time ago how shocked I was to see Lovaacs brutally assault a 12 year old boy in front of my eyes, and passed it off as psychological therapy. So I have very strong feelings about this for various reasons - it reduces psychology as a discipline to thuggery, and under the hypocritical pretence of therapy.

I don't think that bills like this can be amended for positive outcomes, they are based on toxic beliefs and attitudes - such as the idea that ABA is the Gold Standard.

I am sure research exists and I will do a bit of a literature search, but most psychologists have given up on trying to debate with or engage in any way with these hardline behaviourists, because they are immune to reason and cannot see anything outside their limited tunnel vision - it is like arguing with a fundamentalist protestant who can't see beyond literalism in the Bible; hardline behaviourists are a sect in psychology that ignores everything but their "speciality" and they are dangerous.



AspieUtah
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23 Feb 2015, 4:21 pm

B19 wrote:
Hi to you too, Aspie Utah. Sometimes it is easier for an outsider to see what is going on - the distance broadens perspective. Autism Speaks has published its strategy of getting ABA recognised as the gold standard treatment for autistic people in the whole of the USA, and it's promotion strategy is to get Bills like this one introduced state by state until all states have the legislation in place, (they have published maps showing progress to date) and the AS role is to give backing to local in-state groups like Autism Utah to do the local lobbying, as well as supplying the overall umbrella support for the local lobbying.

If this Bill passes, it is essentially another victory for Autism Speaks, which must be recognised for what it is - a political organisation, not a service organisation - and it seems to target republican politicians who are conservative, like this one in Utah.

This IMO should set off very loud alarm bells in the autistic community and if the community does not lobby/protest and instead remains silent, then Autism Speaks and its sister organisations will try to make sure that the silence is construed as consent. They will claim that the silence/lack of protest means that autistic people want this "cure".

It is time to put pressure on the UN to ask the USA goverment why it has not ratified the treaties that protect children from torture and disregard for their well-being - two treaties apply. You can write to the UN Committee which overseas these treaties and non-compliant countries. You can say that you are ashamed, as a USA citizen, that your country is on par with Somalia, and ask for pressure for the USA to ratify UNCROC to be prioritised given that without it, children are being tortured by ABA.

If there are ABA-related research papers or even first-person YouTube.com testimony that you know about, I could forward them to local news media with the connection that "the behavioral analysis that this bill describes has a history of violence and ineffective results," I think that would stop any chances of the bill's adoption this year. In fact, because the legislative session adjourns in almost three weeks, the sponsor probably won't see much movement and intends to let it be "studied" during the summer's interim meetings.

I don't lobby as much as I did when I was licensed to do so, but just occasionally, some bill causes me to contact my legislative friends to get some bill delayed, abandoned or adopted. I will be searching the Internet for these ideas and preparing something. Let me know if you find anything else, and if you feel inclined your written description of the abuse of the 12-year-old boy would be JUST what is needed to delay the bill.

Thanks!


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Diagnosed in 2015 with ASD Level 1 by the University of Utah Health Care Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic using the ADOS-2 Module 4 assessment instrument [11/30] -- Screened in 2014 with ASD by using the University of Cambridge Autism Research Centre AQ (Adult) [43/50]; EQ-60 for adults [11/80]; FQ [43/135]; SQ (Adult) [130/150] self-reported screening inventories -- Assessed since 1978 with an estimated IQ [≈145] by several clinicians -- Contact on WrongPlanet.net by private message (PM)


B19
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23 Feb 2015, 4:27 pm

http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(08)00777-4/fulltext

This study is a meta analysis of 13 separate studies. It found that ABA (called ABI by the authors but same thing) was not supported by evidence that it was any more effective than other approaches. So this finding specifically challenges the claim by Autism Speaks that ABA is established as the most effective possible treatment for autistic children.

PS Sorry that link doesn't seem to work, here are the authors and publication details which you can google:

Spreckley, M., & Boyd, R. (in press). Efficacy of applied behavioral intervention in preschool children with autism for improving cognitive, language, and adaptive behavior: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Pediatrics.



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23 Feb 2015, 4:36 pm

B19 wrote:
http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(08)00777-4/fulltext

This study is a meta analysis of 13 separate studies. It found that ABA (called ABI by the authors but same thing) was not supported by evidence that it was any more effective than other approaches. So this finding specifically challenges the claim by Autism Speaks that ABA is established as the most effective possible treatment for autistic children.

PS Sorry that link doesn't seem to work, here are the authors and publication details which you can google:

Spreckley, M., & Boyd, R. (in press). Efficacy of applied behavioral intervention in preschool children with autism for improving cognitive, language, and adaptive behavior: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Pediatrics.

Perfect! I got the correct link and will share with local news reporters. If and when they publish or broadcast about the doubts of this bill, I will share with the legislators.


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Diagnosed in 2015 with ASD Level 1 by the University of Utah Health Care Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic using the ADOS-2 Module 4 assessment instrument [11/30] -- Screened in 2014 with ASD by using the University of Cambridge Autism Research Centre AQ (Adult) [43/50]; EQ-60 for adults [11/80]; FQ [43/135]; SQ (Adult) [130/150] self-reported screening inventories -- Assessed since 1978 with an estimated IQ [≈145] by several clinicians -- Contact on WrongPlanet.net by private message (PM)


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23 Feb 2015, 4:53 pm

ASAN whatever you think of them specializes in legislation they would pick it apart and and try and do something about it. Success is problematic Autism Speaks is so omnipresent and powerful. But on occasion such as the "Ransom Notes" case and changing the name of the "Combating Autism Act" they have beaten the odds.

And you have a great knowledge of how these things work yourself.


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23 Feb 2015, 4:58 pm

From my reading of studies, it was particularly apparent the "fully randomised controlled studies" on ABA are non-existent - this basically means that the existing ones which are proffered are not reliable, because they are not controlled for variables such as samples being biased by parents who "enter their children" and influence their children to respond in ways the parents want. This would lead to findings of "improved outcomes". However the studies "proving" how effective ABA is, are simply not scientifically robust enough to prove anything at all, except the bias and scientific ignorance of the claimants and their supporters (AS et al).

Unless you have truly random assignment to study groups and a control group as well, the exercise is just a promotional activity, not a scientific one. If you can find a single study that has random selection and a control group randomly selected, with an adequate sample size and methodology, I would like to know of it. If it doesn't exist, then there is no valid evidence at all.



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23 Feb 2015, 5:18 pm

This is a useful link on how to lobby a senator; it was written for people who want to see the USA ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, though it could be very useful if you want to get involved in resisting the Bill that is the main topic of this thread:

http://www.usicd.org/doc/How%20to%20Mee ... enator.pdf