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What’s the difference between unrestricted and restricted experience hours for BCBA and BCaBA supervision?

Before beginning supervision, it is important to understand the nature of supervision including the difference between unrestricted, and restricted experience hours.  It can be tricky to understand until you relate it to your applied setting. This post will give you an overview of experience hours and provide examples of unrestricted and restricted activities. I wish I had this type of breakdown when I began! I hope this helps.

What are unrestricted activities?

Unrestricted activities are those that resemble what a BCBA does on a day to day basis. These unrestricted activities include a variety of tasks such as conducting assessments such as the VB-MAPP, FA, preference assessments, also meeting with clients and families about behavior-analytic progress. Also, these activities include data graphing, analysis, and writing behavior intervention plans. Research is also key to ensuring all BCBA/BCaBA’s are staying current with the literature.

What are restricted activities?

Restricted hours are the delivery of direct therapy and instruction procedures with clients. Basically, anytime you are with your client directly and are not participating in analyzing data, meeting with clients, conducting assessments, or researching literature.

How much of each do I need?

At least 50% of total supervision experience hours must be unrestricted activities. There is no limit to unrestricted activities, technically, you could have all 100% if you wanted to but that would take you a while! There are no minimum restricted hours, however, no more than 50% can be restricted or direct therapy hours.

Click here for our quick guide to supervision.

What are acceptable activities for experience standards?

Unrestricted activities:

At least 50% of total experience hours must be composed of the following unrestricted activities. There is no limit to unrestricted activities.

  • Conducting assessments related to ABA (preference, FA)
  • Design, implement, systematically monitor skill-acquisition and behavior reduction programs
  • Writing behavior treatment plans, progress summaries, clinical notes, transition summaries
  • Oversee the implementation of behavior-analytic programs by others
  • Training others
  • Communicating with caregivers and other professionals
  • Attending planning meetings, researching literature that is relevant to current client’s programs

Restricted activities:

No more than 50% of total experience hours can be restricted

  • Direct therapy/working directly with clients

How does this apply to my current setting?

School:

In the school setting, there are many opportunities to gain unrestricted hours under the direction of your BCBA supervisor. Here are a few ideas for gaining unrestricted hours in the classroom setting:

  • Observation and data collection on problem behavior
  • Composing a behavior intervention plan with ABA principles for a specific student
  • Conduct a preference assessment for a student and take data, graph and analyze
  • Graph behavior data and analyze
  • Research literature for problem behaviors you are seeing from students in your classroom
  • Train paraprofessionals on ABA strategies, treatment plans, and oversee these programs being implemented
  • Write transition summaries related to ABA
  • Meet with parents and train on specific ABA topics

Home:

If you work in an in-home setting as an ABA therapist, here is a list of unrestricted activities that you could participate in to gain the indirect hours all under the direction of your BCBA supervisor.

  • Train parents and caregivers on specific ABA intervention
  • Conduct FBA or parent and caregiver interviews to evaluate the function
  • Observe the caregiver implementing a strategy and record data, graph and analyze
  • Write clinical notes, treatment plans, or progress summaries
  • Research literature related to home-based services specific to your client’s behaviors
  • Graph behavior data, and analyze trends
  • Compose and/or edit behavior intervention plans with your BCBA

Clinic:

There are numerous ways to gain unrestricted hours if you work in a clinic setting. From my experience, the clinical setting provided me with the most options for unrestricted activities. Here is a list of unrestricted activities to do in the clinical setting:

  • Create task analyses, preference assessments, behavior tracking sheets, or other data collection sheets for acquisition targets
  • Conduct a preference assessment
  • Assist in the implementation of the VB-MAPP
  • Conduct an FBA with caregivers, other therapists, and analyze the hypothesized function
  • Train new hires on ABA principles
  • Research literature related to specific clients
  • Meet with parents, caregivers, and teachers and train on behavior-analytic programs
  • Assist with progress reports, reauthorization reports, and treatment plans
  • Observe other staff members implementing specific ABA interventions and provide feedback

How do I track supervision?

The BACB provides an excel experience tracking form that you will utilize to help track unrestricted/restricted activities. I would also recommend watching the 30-minute video on how to track supervision before beginning.

Feel free to reach out with any questions!

katherine@readysetaba.com

-Katherine

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