The application by which local educational agencies may request an exception from NYSED to exceed the 1.0 percent cap in counting as proficient and advanced for accountability purposes, during the 2012-13 school year, the scores of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities based on alternate academic achievement standards is now available
NEAT Chair, Cathy Paine has a terrific piece on school safety and mental health services on CNN.com .
A memorandum to inform you that the Board of Regents has approved for permanent adoption the amendments of sections 200.2 through 200.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education relating to, respectively, the additional parent member of a committee on special education and authorizing electronic access to students' individualized education programs. The effective date of the amendments is January 2, 2013. For more information, see http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/CSEIEPamend.htm
The New York Association of School Psychologists, whose organizational mission is to serve children, their families, and the school community by promoting psychological well-being, excellence in education, and sensitivity to diversity through best practices in school psychology, is pleased to offer comments on the Emergency Rule Making Provider Requirements for Insurance Reimbursement of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Prevalence rates for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), now at 1:88 children according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are staggering, yet the impact on families is even greater. School psychologists witness firsthand the angst that accompanies this diagnosis and the struggles in accessing subsequent treatment for families living with autism. School psychologists currently provide behavioral health treatment within the educational setting in terms of screening, diagnosis, and direct supportive therapeutic services to students diagnosed with ASD.
The intent of Chapters 595 and 596 of the Laws of 2011 was to require certain health insurance policy in the State of New York to cover the screening, diagnosis, and evidence based treatments of ASD. It further stipulated that NYS disseminate statewide standards which identify evidence based, clinically proven and peer reviewed options for ASD, which will be covered by certain companies providing insurance coverage in New York.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which is specifically identified within the Law, is one treatment approach that plays an important role as part of a comprehensive treatment program for ASD. School psychology training allows our profession to uniquely evaluate other evidence based treatments that have proven efficacious with ASD (e.g. Pivotal Response Training, Early Start Denver Model, TEACCH, DIR/Floortime). ABA is one treatment modality within an expanding evidence base of what works with ASD.
The Emergency Regulations posit that individuals providing or supervising the provision of ABA services must be “certified behavior analysts.” The Certified Behavior Analyst is defined as a licensed professional, who is certified through a “behavior analyst certification board.” While NYASP appreciates the intent of the Regulation, which is to ensure the qualifications of the provider and protect the public, the requirement of licensure would appear to limit the number of available providers for this service. It is suggested that the regulations reflect the original language of the law, which provides for certification through a “behavior analyst certification board.” However, a reasonable interpretation of the legislative intent of the law would be to require that providers or supervisors of ABA services possess a masters degree in psychology as the educational requirement of the BACB certification. Support for the work of Master’s level mental health professionals is aligned with NYASP’s tenet that credentialing professionals at this educational level can increase services to our neediest populations. If the state is concerned about credentialing behavior analysts at the licensure level, the NYS Legislature is encouraged to pursue this through scope of practice legislation for masters level mental health providers. However, without this credential, the current requirement for licensure would serve to diminish the services to children with ASD.
Finally, NYASP supports the provision within the Regulations which recognizes that “nothing in this Part shall be deemed to restrict or supersede any requirements prescribed by the Commissioner of Education pursuant to Education Law Article 89 relating to the qualifications of individuals providing special education or related services to children with disabilities, including ABA.” This provision would protect against any unintended consequences or limitations placed upon services and service providers within the schools.
In summary, the autism insurance reform law was designed to expand services to families dealing with ASD. As the regulations are currently written, they may in fact serve to limit the number of professionals meeting the requirements as presently stated. Therefore, NYASP supports the original language of the law, which requires certification through a BACB. However, the regulations should reflect the requirement that a master’s degree in psychology serve as the minimum requisite educational requirement for this certification.
The Board of Regents approved the emergency adoption of an amendment to section 100.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, effective October 31, 2012, to provide an additional option for a student with a disability to earn a local diploma through the use of a "compensatory option." For more information, see http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/safetynet-compensatoryoption.html