Answering the call to work with autism clients is very gratifying, but also challenging. To be successful, autism therapists often depend on the support provided by the organizations for which they work. When that support is inadequate or outdated, therapy risks becoming less effective and therapists can become frustrated.
“It is essential that autism care centers invest in their therapists by equipping them with the best technologies and therapeutic tools available,” says Christopher Barnett, CEO of ABA Centers of America. “Therapists bring the passion and the skills that are critical for treating clients with autism. They must be able to rely on their employers to support them in their efforts.”
ABA Centers of America provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy services for anyone diagnosed with autism. Their unique approach to autism treatment makes it possible for clients to get the highest quality of care at their homes, ABA’s centers, schools, or anywhere in the community. It is the fastest-growing ABA provider in the Northeast US, with multiple locations in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, upcoming centers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and plans to have a total of 20 locations by year-end 2023.
Mr. Barnett founded the organization in 2020 after experiencing the difficulties that families face when seeking ABA therapy services for children with autism.
“Both of my nieces are on the autism spectrum and had a very difficult time getting treatment,” says Christopher. “They languished for years waiting to even get a diagnosis, then were put on another waiting list for ABA therapy. Leveraging my background in healthcare, I knew there had to be a better way, so I set out to disrupt this space and fundamentally change the way ABA services are made available to communities.”
One of the keys to the success that ABA Centers of America has experienced is its focus on equipping and empowering the autism therapists that it employs. This focus led the organization to develop an internal training and professional development program known as the ABA Academy of Excellence. The program, which has consistently resulted in students achieving certification scores that are higher than the industry standard, ensures that the therapists working with ABA Centers of America are fully equipped to serve their clients.
ABA Centers of America also provides its therapists with hands-on experience and expert guidance through its ground-breaking Precepting Program. This training program, which follows several weeks of classroom study and training in the Academy of Excellence, pairs Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) with experienced RBT preceptors.
“Most staff training programs rely on lectures and presentations,” explains Janelle Guarino, Assistant Director of Training and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with ABA Centers of America. “That methodology is effective for transferring a certain amount of knowledge, but ineffective at teaching trainees to perform effective clinical care. Our precepting program allows us to give trainees a much deeper level of understanding and experience.”
The therapists who have experienced the Precepting Program report that it effectively takes their Academy training to the next level, giving them greater confidence as they transition from assisting with therapy to leading therapy sessions.
“I felt way more prepared and comfortable actively using my knowledge in live sessions after precepting. It’s the perfect opportunity to cement the material I learned in class,” wrote one program graduate in an anonymous survey.
As RBTs begin working at ABA Centers of America, they enter an environment in which their efforts make a life-changing difference. By implementing the individualized action plans the center’s BCBAs develop, RBTs provide proven, evidence-based, personalized treatment that gets results. They work with clients and families to achieve mutually agreed-upon goals that include learning critical life skills, building up inherent strengths, and developing social and communication skills.
“This isn’t the kind of place where you clock in and check your mind at the door,” Barnett says. “Working with autism clients who are changing and growing is never dull. You are helping clients and their families in ways that truly matter.”
A healthy work-life balance is important for any employee, but especially those who work in a field like healthcare where tasks can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. ABA Centers of America makes sure that their therapists are able to give their best work to their clients by providing the best salary and benefits package in the industry. A company-matched retirement plan, three weeks of paid time off, and 100 percent employee-sponsored health insurance are among the benefits that therapists receive.
The extensive efforts that ABA Centers of America employs to equip and empower its therapists results in a high degree of success for its clients, as well as making it a great choice for anyone looking to launch a gratifying career in a growing field.
“If you’re looking to learn, this is the best place to be,” Barnett says. “You’ll soak up knowledge as you work with our industry-leading professionals. The experience you can gain as you work toward licenses and certifications makes ABA Centers of America an excellent choice for your career.”