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A community for people affected by autism


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(Deleted comment)
I dont think its profiting to make a decent wage and benefits at your job, and you want to continue with the work, I am sure a lot of teachers drop out in frustration, and that certainly doesn't help families. The only issue you would have is if the parents have difficulty paying for your servicies, either convincing their disability programs to cover you up front, or having to pay you and get reimbursed.

Honestly I don't see where the problem could be. Private therapy is great and eliminating the "middle man" that makes it more expensive for everyone only makes sense to me !
In the end you would make more money but the parents would pay less than what they are paying now.
As long as you are able to find enough patients on your own, why not do it ?
After a while word of mouth kicks in...

Now I don't see why all of this would be unethical. A lot of people do private therapy, it's convenient foe everyone.

Good luck with your project.

We loved our private therapist. When my son turned 3 the stae would not pay for her anymore. I can not afford her or We would still be using her services...not sure if that helps.

There might be a conflict of interest here. I'd review your contract with the agency you work for/with now. I know that if I were to leave, there is a clause that states I cannot do similar work within the autism field in the service area my employer serves for a year (basically meaning I cannot take on families of whom I know through my current employer).

It may mean that you just have to be careful about how you put yourself out there and to avoid soliciting current families

thanks. i know one of my old agencies had such a clause in their contract. I would not solicit any of my current clients through the agencies.

Thanks for all your comments. Right now, through my agency I get $60/hr, which may sound like a lot, but after health care and taxes, I end up taking home $35/hr. Considering my high rent in Manhattan, that's enough, but not exactly living the high life. I don't get paid for travel time btwn clients, and I end up traveling about 1.5 hrs per day btwn clients. The nyc dept of ed pays my current agency something like $115/hr for pre-school cases, and the dept of health pays about $130/hr for early intervention cases. The dept of ed could obviously save money by hiring someone like me directly for like $80/hr, but that's just not the way they function.

One family that approached me is fine w/ paying me $60/hr, and I think that is generally the range I will ask for. Does that sound like a ridiculously high rate? Remember, I live in Manhattan where cost of living is crazy, probably comparable to London.

Right now, I also work with one single mom in Harlem, who I know could never afford that rate, so I would keep her case through my agency to allow her to keep getting my services funded through the city. I know some private agencies here charge upwards of $150/hr. One of my friends thought she was getting a good deal by taking on a an aba case for $70/hr, until she found out that the woman running the agency was charging the parents $260/hr! I think that is totally unethical. The woman running the agency new very little about aba.

So I am thinking that with my two Master's degrees, top-quality aba training, and almost 5 yrs special ed teaching experience, $60/hr in Manhattan is reasonable. What do you guys think? I would pay taxes on it through 1099 forms, but I would also be able to write off quite a bit for self-employment costs, so hopefully my taxes wouldn't be too high. This is all totally new for me! Down the road, I may try to contract directly with the Dept of Ed, which would make sense for everyone.

outside Boston I did respite for $20/hr, and some people got $30/hr...but Manhattan is so expensive that $60/hr doesn't sound completely terribly unreasonable...unless you're doing TONS of hours per week for a single family. In that case, it might be an unreasonable financial burden and you could ask them to pay you by the week or day instead of by the hour.

The ABA therapist who works with a 4 year old that I know charges mom $50/hour, which seems pretty fair to me.
If you are a self employed/independent contractor (and even if you're not) you can write off a lot of your mileage as a tax deduction. Check with your accountant on that one- I keep track of all of my unreimbursed work mileage for tax purposes.

Interested in training a parent?

(Anonymous)
My e-mail is jabo_a@yahoo.com. Please contact me if you're able to train parents. Thanks!

With some comparable info.

I'm a software freelancer, in my field broker/agencies routinely take 50%+ of the bill rate. One of the agencies in the DC area advertises as a positive that they "only" take 25% of the bill rate. In that context the
ratio of your rate and the company rate is a little high but not absurdly so (given that contrating with gov't agencies works out that they end up having a pseudo-monopoly on those contract it's not surprising).

Broadly speaking that seems horrendous, but I've been looking at moving towards becoming a contract 'broker' so have needed to run the figures...
and discovered that to break even on a W2 contractor, I need to be collecting 34% of the bill rate, thats with no real benefits for the employee, and no profit for the company - just required expenses ( work comp, unemployment, FICA etc. ) and sales support. So for a small contract broker the numbers aren't nice. On the other hand my calculation indicate that once I had 15 people working on contract some economies of scale kick in and I could afford to decrease that percentage significantly, which would make room for benefits and profit and such. Which means if the broker is handling dozens and dozens of people like you for the entire NYC DoE/H then I'd say they're probably not being terribly fair (to be polite).

If you're already working as a 1099 contractor (it sounds like you might be), then you are already most of the way towards going independent. Contrating with gov't agencies is a real pain, so if you go independant you probably won't be able to access that market, but by working with the clients directly rather than through the broker you will have better control over 'fair' pricing.

Good luck.

Grateful parent

(Anonymous)
I have a child, now 5, who didn't get ABA. I would love to discuss becoming an ABA specialist like you. Are you interested in training parents? I fully intend to work with an agency, and become an independent contractor like you. NYC is where all skilled professionals eventually establish themselves and build connections. Most of them though, do not help children, and are only dedicated to their own ambitions and greed. Good luck and thank you.

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