Understanding the 2019 BACB Supervision Updates

Photo by Jenna Anderson on Unsplash

Melissa Druskis, M.S., BCBA

bSci21 Contributing Writer

The BACB provided us with an updated experience standards document in March 2018. Some of you may have been using this new monthly system already, but as of January 1st, 2019 those changes became mandatory for all BCBA/BCaBA supervisees. This update made significant changes to the way we track hours, the forms used, and what is required of supervisees each period. Let’s take a look at the differences between the 2-week period system and the new monthly system.

Supervision Requirements

While there were no changes to the supervisor or supervision requirements section of the Experience Standards, it’s important to note that the online supervision module (not the mandatory 8-hr supervision training) is no longer required. While it is not stated in this section, supervisees will need to be working with clients every month they are counting hours to meet the experience requirements. Previously, though it was stated that supervisees must work with at least two clients at some point during their supervision experience, it was not required for them to engage in work with a client each period. Don’t forget to update your supervision contract to reflect these updates (a free supervision contract can be found here).

Experience Requirements

Previously, hours were tracked on a 2-week system with at least 1 contact per period and no specifications for observations with clients. These periods allowed a minimum of 10 hours and a max of 30 hours (including supervision) each week. With the new system, hours are tracked per calendar month regardless of days in the month. This means the period should begin on the 1st of the month and end on the last day of the month. If a supervisee starts in the middle of the month, the requirements can be prorated for the partial month which would be decided on by the supervisor.

Supervised independent fieldwork experience requires 2 contacts with the supervisor and 2 observations of the supervisees with a client each month (these requirements are higher for practicum and intensive practicum experience types). Observations can be in-person, via live remote observation, or by pre-recorded video review. Reviewing permanent products do not count for this, you need to actually see the supervisee with a client, though no time requirements are placed on these observations. We also see a wider range of hours allowed with a minimum of 20 hours and a maximum of 130 hours each month (including supervision).

Documentation

One of the biggest areas of change is in the way experience hours are documented and tracked. The 2-week verification forms required documentation of task list items covered, separate documentation of group vs individual supervision, evaluation of the supervisee’s performance, and a signature by every supervisor that provided supervision that period. The new monthly verification forms have two options of the forms to use, one for an individual supervisor and one for an organization with multiple supervisors where only one supervisor signature is required. Regardless which form you use, you will need to include your BACB account number (not certification number) and by signing you are agreeing to meeting the requirements laid out in the monthly experience standards without actually documenting that information on the form (hour breakdown, supervisees performance, etc.). The final verification form also differs from the old version in that only one signature is required for the organization form (though all supervisors must be listed), less information is required by the supervisor, and all of the new documents are more user friendly for capturing appropriate electronic signatures.

The updates to the tracking system has been a cause of much confusion. The new experience standards states that you must use the BACB provided experience tracker AND have a unique documentation system. This may seem redundant, but both are required and may need to be provided in the case of an audit. The BACB provided experience tracker has had some issues since its initial rollout so make sure you are using the most recent version to avoid some of these earlier problems. If you are still having issues with this tracker, check out the tutorial videos provided by the BACB or use the technical issue contact form. The unique tracking is flexible and can be designed specifically for your setting, but it must include the following information:

Independent Hours (for each session):

  • Date
  • Start and end time
  • Experience type
  • Setting name
  • Supervisor name
  • Activity category (restricted or unrestricted)

Supervised Hours (for each contact):

  • Date
  • Start and end time
  • Format (in-person, remote)
  • Experience type
  • Supervision type (individual or group)
  • Activity category (restricted or unrestricted)
    • Restricted supervision hours are counted when you are supervising restricted activities. These hours count towards your supervisees restricted hour percentage (no more than 50% of their hours can come from restricted activities).
  • Summary of supervision activity

Supervised Hours (per period):

  • Total hours of individual and group supervision
  • Total number of contacts
  • Total number of observations of supervised with client

Summary

So, do these changes improve our supervision? I believe so. The monthly tracking system allows for more flexibility in the hours earned while the increased requirements, like setting a minimum for the number of supervisor contacts and observations with clients, assures better and more consistent supervision experiences. While there is less information required to be tracked with some of these forms, it is still our responsibility to track supervisee performance, provide feedback, and make sure our supervisees are showing mastery of all areas of the task list before we sign off on their hours. Providing supervision is a great responsibility and should not be taken lightly. We are not just there to sign off on hours, we are guiding the next generation of BCBAs who will need to be competent in all areas of the science of behavior.

References

BCBA/BCaBA Experience Standards: Monthly System. Ver. February 2018. Behavior Analyst Certification Board. Retrieved February 25, 2019 from https://www.bacb.com/experience-standards-monthly-system/

Melissa Druskis, M.S., BCBA has worked with children with autism for over 9 years as a speech language pathologist assistant and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She is the founder of ABC Behavior Training, a company providing distance supervision to BCBA and BCaBA students, disseminating the science of ABA, and providing training and materials to ABA practitioners. She earned her Master’s degree from the University of Texas at Dallas in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience, with a specialization in Cognition and Human-Computer Interaction, and completed the BCBA Certification program at Florida Institute of Technology. She currently provides in-home ABA services and oversees a team of BCBA’s for an ABA company in the DFW area, provides distance supervision for BCBA’s and BCaBA’s, and is a co-instructor for Florida Institute of Technology. You can contact her through her website at www.abcbehaviortx.com or by email at abcbehaviortx@gmail.com.

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