Previous posts described the attempt by West Virginia psychologists to claim jurisdiction over behavior analysts. AP reports:
West Virginia does not appear to need its own regulatory board to oversee specialists who treat children with autism, given current national standards, a Tuesday report presented to lawmakers concluded.
The legislative audit found that the national Behavior Analyst Certification Board "provides adequate and sufficient protection to the public."
The findings arrive after the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists sought to claim jurisdiction over behavior analysts last year. The board dropped that attempt following a lawsuit and an outcry among parents of children diagnosed with these neurological conditions.
These specialists provide applied behavioral analysis, a treatment considered crucial by experts for many children with an autism spectrum disorder. These conditions are marked by problems with communication, behavior and social skills. The range includes a severe form called autistic disorder and the much milder Asperger's syndrome. Tuesday's report said the number of West Virginia schoolchildren diagnosed within the spectrum increased to 1,474 during the just-completed school year from 372 during 2001-2002.
"It is a distinct profession with distinct training that pulls from many difference degree programs in order for a certification to be specialized," Susannah Poe, the state's only behavior analysts who is also a licensed psychologist, told the House-Senate committees that received the report.
Welcoming the audit's conclusion, Poe blasted the psychology board for trying to force behavior analysis to work under the paid supervision of licensed psychologists.
"This current board of examiners filed an unprecedented and unnecessary emergency order that immediately restricted our professionals from engaging in the work that they had performed without complaint, without oversight or without any interest from the board," Poe said.