Behavioral Specialist License Now Available for Treating Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Jun 13, 2012, 10:30 ET from Pennsylvania Department of State

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Children in Pennsylvania with autism spectrum disorders can now receive treatment from state-licensed behavioral specialists, the Department of State announced today. 

The State Board of Medicine, which will grant behavioral specialist licenses, has approved final regulations outlining the education and training needed for this license.  These regulations have been published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, as required by law, and individuals can now apply for behavioral specialist licenses.

"This is an important step forward in treating children with autism spectrum disorders," said Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele. "Now, families seeking treatment for their children will know they are getting this treatment from professionals specifically trained and licensed in this field."

Being treated by a professional specifically licensed for autism spectrum disorders may help families obtain insurance coverage for this treatment, Aichele noted.

The Department of State oversees the Medical Board and 28 other boards which set and maintain standards for professional license holders in Pennsylvania.

License applicants must have a master's or higher degree from a board-approved, accredited college or university, including a major course of study in school, clinical, or counseling psychology, special education, social work, speech therapy, occupational therapy or another related field. They must also have experience involving functional behavior assessments, and experience with individuals with behavioral challenges, or in a related field with individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Completion of training programs, including autism-specific training, is also required for a behavioral specialist license.

Autism is a group of developmental brain disorders, collectively called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The term "spectrum" refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment, or disability, that children with ASD can have. These can range from mild impairment to severe disability.

Behavioral specialist license applications are available at Select "Licensing"; "Health-Related Boards"; then "State Board of Medicine." 

Media contact: Ron Ruman, 717-783-1621

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of State