Hi. I'm a special ed teacher and ABA therapist in NYC. I was wondering if anyone here has experience with either hiring or providing private autism services in NYC or other big cities. I'm wondering about the financial and ethical logistics of taking on private family cases. Basically, to sum up my experience, I worked as a special ed teacher in NYC public schools for 3 years, and for the past two years, I've been doing full-time, home-based ABA and school-based SEIT work with preschool kids with autism through two special needs agencies. Although I'm making a good hourly rate overall (for a teacher), I know that these agencies are also taking huge cuts of my earnings b/c they have very lucrative contracts with the NYC Dept of Ed. (Basically, for every dollar I make, my agency takes 50 cents). I also have to pay for my own health care ($400/month for my health insurance in NYC).
So I'm wondering if it's time to branch out on my own and become self-employed as an "educational consultant" in this field. I know that I am a top-notch, caring special needs teacher - I received excellent ABA training, and all of the parents I've worked with have been very loving, happy and supportive of my work with their kids. Two families have recently approached me to work privately with their sons (who have not yet been diagnosed, but who have pretty clear autistic symptoms). A general ed preschool teacher I work with referred these parents to me w/out me soliciting any work. Would it be ethical for me to take these cases privately?
I'm thinking if I do take these cases, I should have the families provide me with 1099 forms for tax purposes, and I would ask them for the same hourly rate I'm getting from my agency, if not more. It seems that some parents in Manhattan, for whom money doesn't seem to be much of an issue, would rather hire someone privately than subject their children to the stigma and politics of being officially classified as "special ed" student in NYC. They could of course get the NYC Dept of Ed to pay for my services, but they'd rather just pay me privately.
So what do parents and others here think of this? Is it ethical for me to take these cases? Personally, I think I would prefer being self-employed, b/c I don't think the agencies I'm working for are particularly respectful of their teachers, and I think it's ridiculous that they don't offer us better health care. (I've only gotten about 20 colds, 5 cases of the stomach flu and strep throat from the kids this year!)
I do have an accountant, and I think I could officially and legitimately become and "educational consultant." I also know that autism is such a personal and sometimes painful issue for parents, and I don't know how comfortable I feel profiting as a private "business person" in this field.
A community for people affected by autism
- Private ABA Services?