Monday, May 14, 2007

One Indicator Suggests Autism Specialists Market Is Heating Up; Plus, How Do You Thank Your Autistic Child's Teachers?

Wanted: ABA consultant, Maine, pays up to $35,000. Behavior analyst, Hawaii, pays up to $65,000. ABA therapist, Virginia, pays up to $55,000. Senior behavior analyst, Texas, pays up to $55,000. Small group intervention coordinator, Washington State, pays up to $65,000.

The job openings above come from the online bulletin board at the Association for Behavior Analysis International, and they appear to be growing in number. On April 10, the group's bulletin board listed 100 openings. On April 24, it held 132 jobs. May 9: 160 jobs. May 14: 176 open positions. It's the season of course when schools are planning for September's new classes and so it makes sense for more openings to emerge like so many spring flowers. It's also fair to speculate that the interest in the field is rising with the reported prevalence of autism spectrum disorders, and with those reports of rising caseloads come a rising demand for services.

Wanted: ABA Program Consultant (primary focus: autism), Virginia. Autism Consultant, Missouri. Behavior Analyst (primary focus: autism), California. Behavior Therapist, (primary focus: autism), Florida. Behavior Analyst, (primary focus: autism), Northern Ireland. Director, Kentucky Autism Training Center. Program Director, May Center for Child Development (primary focus: autism), Massachusetts. Psychologist (primary focus: autism), Melbourne, Australia. Assistant Professor of Special Education, Applied Behavior Analysis, New England states.

At the February 2007 ABA International conference in Boston, organizers said they expected a few hundred attendees. More than 1,600 showed up, including more than a few parents. And so recalling that crowd, taking note of the rising media and public interest in autism as a social and public policy issue, I contacted ABA International to see if they would talk about trends they may have spotted on the jobs bulletin board, but haven't heard back yet. If you have observations to share, or know someone who does, comment here or write to me at michaelsgoldberg AT We can continue the discussion.

The discussion about autism specialists -- those teachers, behavior therapists and other professionals -- is an important topic. What makes the good ones good? What makes a staff supervisor effective? How do we encourage them to stay in this field? How do we attract more talented young people?

It's important because from what I've seen in the past few years the most important people a parent meets -- by a wide margin -- are those who spend time with our children, helping them learn. The good ones are very special -- so special that one fumbles for the right ways to express appreciation for the work they do. And so I'm asking you here for what approach you use, in the question below. If you see a choice not listed, you can visit Autism Bulletin to post a comment, or you can go to this website to view the poll question and vote and comment.

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