Indiana has been a trailblazer for autism rights since 2001, when it became the first state in the nation to require health insurers to cover autism therapy. It’s no surprise, then, that the Hoosier State is also home to one of the highest concentrations of autism-focused therapists in the nation.
This is a good thing in a state that has witnessed a dramatic increase in autism cases in recent years. According to Easter Seals, just 2 percent of all children (ages 3-21) who received special education services in Indiana in 2000 had autism. By 2013-14, this percentage had grown to more than 8 percent.
According to Autism Speaks, there are 104 programs in Indiana that provide applied behavior analysis (ABA). Over the past decade, states like Indiana have seen a dramatic increase in the use of ABA to help persons with autism live happy and productive lives thanks, in part, to endorsements by many state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Surgeon General.
Behavior analysis focuses on how learning takes place. Applied behavior analysis involves applying techniques to promote and encourage productive, socially acceptable behaviors and reduce behaviors that could interfere with learning or cause harm. The goal of ABA is to bring about meaningful and positive change in behavior.
Earning a Master’s Degree and Qualifying for the BCBA® Credential in Indiana
Due to the meteoric rise in ABA, many states currently license applied behavior analysts or are in the process of enacting legislation aimed at state licensure.
While Indiana does not have a centralized licensing authority in place for applied behavior analysts as of 2016, Indiana legislature did pass a 2008 law that prohibits anyone in the state who is not certified as a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) from using the title.
Because of the lack of state licensure, the BCBA® designation, although voluntary, has become the standard for applied behavior analysts in Indiana.
To earn your BCBA® through the, you must meet the following requirements: (1) Earn a graduate-level degree; (2) Complete a practicum or field experience; and (3) Pass the national BCBA® examination.
Eligible candidates for BCBA® certification must hold a master’s degree or higher in behavior analysis, education, or psychology that meets the curriculum requirements that must be met in order to take the certification exam:
- Programs that are pre-approved as meeting BACB curriculum requirements are included on a list of programs with a BACB-approved course sequence.
- All programs that have received accreditation through the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) also include an approved course sequence.
- Programs not listed with an approved course sequence or as being accredited through ABAI may still meet course content allocation requirements, but would need to undergo a syllabus evaluation before you would be allowed to take the exam.
Qualifying accredited programs may be offered on-campus or on-line. Online programs have become a popular choice for many students, thanks to their convenience and flexibility. Professionals with demanding work schedules and individuals not residing near an institution with a BACB-approved program find online programs not just beneficial but necessary. Students of online programs work with their program advisor to find local placement for their practicum.
Candidates for BCBA® certification must also meet BACB Experience Standards through the completion of a practicum or independent field experience.
If the BACB-approved program where you earned your graduate degree offers a practicum, it will be structured as one of the following:
- Practicum: 1,000 hours (with at least one week of supervision)
- Intensive practicum: 750 hours (with at least one week of supervision)
If your program does not include a qualifying practicum, you can still satisfy BACB experience standards by completing a period of independent field experience of at least 1,500 hours, including at least two weeks of supervision.
In Indiana, you may be able to complete your practicum/field experience through ABA providers such as:
- Arc BRIDGES, Gary
- Behavior Development Group, Indianapolis
- Behavior Specialists of Indiana, South Bend
- Adaptive ABA, Inc., Fort Wayne
- Disabilities Autism Services of Indiana, Saint Paul
- Life Strategies LLC, Schererville, Porter
- Logan Autism Learning Center, South Bend and Granger
- Partnership for Behavioral Change, South Bend
- Positive Pathways, Carmel
After you completed the required practicum, you must apply to and receive authorization from the BACB to take the BCBA® national exam.
Pearson VUE is the administrator of the BCBA® exam. You can take the exam at one of the following Pearson VUE testing sites in Indiana:
- Fort Wayne
- Terre Haute
- Van Wert
Indiana’s ABA Providers
A sampling of Indiana ABA providers reveals the wide range of services for Indiana’s children and adults with autism and other developmental disorders:
Integrity Behavioral Solutions: Plainfield
Integrity Behavioral Solutions provides early intervention services using the science behind ABA. Services are provided for children up to age 7. This ABA provider offers intensive, one-on-one personalized therapy in the community, in the home, and in school, as needed.
Just a few of the disorders treated here include autism, Down syndrome, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and behavioral challenges.
Little Star Center: Carmel, Lafayette, West Lafayette, Bloomington, Clarksville and Newburgh
Little Star Center applied behavioral centers provide ABA therapy for children, teens, and young adults. Founded in 2002, it was the first ABA facility in the State of Indiana. In addition to center-based care, Little Star Center also offers home-based, community-based, and transition-to-school ABA services.
Indiana ABA Institute: Fort Wayne
The Indiana ABA Institute provides individualized ABA therapy to children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities and behavioral issues. Both in-clinic and at-home treatment is available here.
The Indiana ABA Institute offers early intensive behavioral intervention to children with autism and other language/learning delays. The individualized plans are designed to increase skills and decrease problem behaviors. Consultation for IEP development is also available. Other services include behavior supports, parent and caregiver training, and professional development training.
Unlocking the Spectrum: Bloomington, Indianapolis, Seymour, and Terre Haute
Unlocking the Spectrum was created to make ABA therapy accessible to all children with autism. ABA services include:
- Individualized plans
- Skills assessments
- In-home consultations
- Functional analyses
Additional Resources for Applied Behavior Analysts in Indiana
The ABA field in Indiana remains strong, thanks to a variety of resources and ABA providers that support those with autism and other developmental disorders.
Autism Society of Indiana: The Autism Society of Indiana connects people who live with autism and those who care about them. It also strives to create communities throughout the state for people on the autism spectrum and their families.
It is a clearinghouse for a variety of services related to career and work readiness, individual and family support, direct care, and community outreach.
Indiana Resource Center for Autism: The Indiana Resource Center for Autism, housed in the Indiana University of Bloomington, conducts training and consultations, engages in research, and disseminates information to build local community capacity to support children and adults on the autism spectrum.