Bill Expands Care for Children With Special Needs

Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) announced that his bill to expand Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for children and individuals with a variety of mental health and disability diagnoses has been signed into law. The legislation, S1662B, removes a longstanding scope-of-practice restriction, which has limited the practice of ABA to autism spectrum disorders alone.

Applied Behavior Analysis is a therapeutic discipline that’s been in use for several decades, which focuses on enhancing individual abilities by analyzing and modifying behaviors.

Today, ABA can help increase language and communication skills, improve focus and memory, boost social skills, and more. Until now, New York has been the only state in the U.S. to restrict its application.

“ABA can be an effective therapeutic intervention for anyone living with a wide range of behavioral complexities, well outside the scope of autism,” said Senator Skoufis. “This is a game changer for thousands of New York’s children who will finally be able to receive the treatment they need and deserve.”

“Senator Skoufs’ care and concern for the rights of New Yorkers to receive evidence-based treatment was very clear in his sponsorship and efforts to get this bill to the floor for a vote,” said former New York State Applied Behavior Analysis Legislative Chair Debbi Napolitano. “Senator Skoufis was strong and purposeful in his collaboration with Governor Hochul, culminating in her signing the bill into law. This bill brings New York much closer to the standard in every other state in the country. This is a game changer in our ability to attract and retain the highly skilled behavior analysts needed to provide services for all who want and need them. NYSABA has already heard from countless families who are so grateful to Senator Skoufis, as are we.”

“On behalf of the 11,000 adults and children we support each year, we thank Senator Skoufis, a valued partner and champion for people with disabilities, for his tireless advocacy and Governor Hochul for signing this important piece of legislation into law,” said Access: Supports for Living Inc. President and CEO Ron Colavito. “Now, people outside the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder can benefit from Applied Behavioral Analysis. Evidence-based practices, like ABA, are critical to people working toward recovery and independence, and the dedicated professionals supporting them. By increasing access to ABA, this law will help create pathways to fuller, healthier lives.”

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