Some people wonder how a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) can diagnose ASD and ADHD. Most BCBAs are not diagnosticians.
BCBAs are qualified to conduct behavioral assessments. Since ASD and ADHD are defined by observable behaviors, a behavioral assessment is appropriate to make such a diagnosis. However, our ethics requires that BCBAs must not work outside the scope of their training and experience. Typically, BCBAs are not trained to diagnose, only to assess for the purpose of developing an appropriate treatment plan. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for most BCBAs to diagnose.
Before moving to Oregon, I was a Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP) in California where I diagnosed ASD using the DSM-5. Oregon does not have LEP licensing, and I have not maintained my CA LEP since moving here. I practice solely under my BCBA certification, which is international. I have the training and experience to make DSM diagnoses from my career as an LEP, and my current BCBA certification allows me to conduct behavioral assessments within the scope of my training and experience.
Another reason most BCBAs do not diagnose is because most BCBAs provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. It would be a conflict of interest to diagnose a client for whom one could then provide services. Because I do not provide ABA services, this conflict of interest does not exist.
If you would like to learn more about my assessment and diagnosis process, I offer you a 30-minute free online consultation. You can see what it would be like to work with me via telehealth, and ask any questions about the assessment process that you have. Just email me at DrWendy@AdultAutismAssessment.com for an appointment. I look forward to meeting you.