Photo: Halona Blow Hole Hawaii

You are here

In response to Luke’s Law

Submitted by cdsweb on Oct 30, 2017

By: Tammy Tom, Christina Keaulana, and Kathleen Penland

Our state legislature is doing great things to support individuals affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). THANK YOU LOCAL LEADERS!!!

Hawai‘i became the 42nd state to pass autism insurance reform under Luke’s Law in the 2015 legislative session. Effective 1/1/2016, children with ASD have better options for receiving quality services and treatment to help them thrive and lead healthier lives. The law now requires most medical insurance in Hawai‘i to pay for necessary ASD healthcare services such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

Here is what is happening locally to support Luke’s Law. Passing the law is just the first step. The Hawai‘i Licensure for Behavior Analysts was also written and signed into law in 2015, ensuring that children with ASD receive ABA designed by a Licensed Behavior Analyst and implemented by Registered Behavior Technicians. In addition…

  • Employment opportunities are being created... In the case of direct service workers, “qualified” personnel must have a Registered Behavior Technician™ (RBT®) credential. This means that individuals with an RBT® credential are in high demand! Organizations and agencies serving the ASD population are hiring individuals already credentialed or individuals who make a commitment to the credentialing process. BAYADA Behavioral Health (BAYADA) is one of the organizations looking to hire, train, and credential interested individuals across the state.
  • Local RBT® training is now available... Through Leeward Community College (Leeward CC) and BAYADA training programs, individuals across the state have an opportunity to pursue an RBT® credential and/or the Special and Inclusive Education Certificate of Competence (SpEd Cert). These local trainings are primarily online so that individuals across the state who are interested in these trainings will have access and those with busy schedules may participate.
  • Scholarships are available statewide... The UHM Center on Disability Studies is collaborating with Leeward CC and BAYADA to provide scholarships to eligible individuals who have not attained a Bachelor’s degree. Direct service workers statewide have a chance to increase their qualifications and skills to service individuals with ASD. These scholarships will provide tuition waivers for Leeward CC and BAYADA programs. Two pathways to the credential are available.
Two training pathways RBT® SpEd Cert
BAYADA Behavioral Health Yes No
Leeward Community College Yes Yes

Mahalo for reading and for helping to spread the word about the RBT® and SpEd Cert scholarships!

Hawai‘i Paraprofessional Training Institute Team


Photo: Tammy Tom

Project Director
Tammy Tom, MA, MS
Tammy is a faculty member at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Center on Disability Studies and holds degrees in math, education, and statistics.Formerly a research statistician at the Hawai‘i Department of Health, during 2014-2017 Tammy collaborated with Dr. Keaulana in the administration of BHWET paraprofessional scholarships to Leeward Community College students.

Photo: Christina Keaulana

Leeward Community College Project Director
Christina Keaulana, PhD
Christina is a faculty member at Leeward Community College, University of Hawai‘i and holds a PhD in Education, with a Specialization in Exceptionalities, and a MEd in Special Education. She coordinates the special education programs at Leeward Community College and instructs courses in the Special Education Certificate of Competence.

Photo: Kathleen Penland

BAYADA Behavioral Health Project Director
Kathleen Penland, MEd, BCBA, LBA
Kathleen is the Clinical Educator for BAYADA’s Behavioral Health Division in Hawai‘i. She holds a Master’s in Special Education and completed post-graduate education in applied behavior analysis (ABA). Kathleen is a licensed and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) specializing in treatment of autism and developmental disabilities. She has served on the board and committees of the Hawai‘i Association for Behavior Analysis (HABA) and will serve as President in 2018.