Assembly Majority Floor Leader Chris Holden Introduces Legislation to Protect Children with Autism

Friday, January 29, 2016

Sacramento, CA - Assembly Majority Floor Leader Chris Holden introduced legislation, AB 1715, that protects children with autism and other individuals receiving behavior analytic services. The bill ensures that only qualified professionals can provide this vulnerable population with quality care.

"As health plans are now mandated to cover behavioral treatment for autism, demand for applied behavior analysis services has significantly increased," said Assembly Majority Floor Leader Chris Holden. "Given the increase, we must protect autistic children, as well as others who can benefit from behavior analytic services, from those who falsely claim that they are qualified to practice behavior analysis."

According to Autism Speaks, a world leading science and advocacy organization dedicated to treating autism, intensive applied behavior analysis treatment - designed and supervised by a qualified professional behavior analyst - can produce meaningful improvements in the overall functioning of young children with autism. Alternatively, studies have shown that early behavioral interventions by unqualified individuals produced little to no improvements in young children with autism.

"At present there are no laws that clearly require that individuals document and demonstrate training and competence in applied behavior analysis in order to practice in this state, and no entity within California that has legal authority to directly regulate the practice of applied behavior analysis," said Matt McCalear, Executive Director for California Association of Behavior Analysis.

By creating a regulatory structure to license behavior analysis professionals under the existing Board of Psychology, AB 1715 aims to give consumers the same level of protection as other similar professions that are licensed and regulated in California. The bill will require applicants for licensure to meet specified education, experience, and certification requirements.