Advancing Autism Services: Our Commitment to Public Policy

Written by Dr. Ashley Williams, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D, Vice President

National Social Justice Day is a time to reflect on the progress made in creating a more equitable and inclusive society. At LEARN Behavioral, this commitment goes beyond the confines of our therapy rooms; it extends into the heart of public policy advocacy. Our dedication to social justice is evident through our active involvement in various organizations and our continuous efforts to champion policies that support the autism community.

1. Advocating for Autism Services Nationwide

LEARN Behavioral is proud to be an active member of the Council for Autism Service Providers (CASP). Our leadership team actively participates as CASP Special Advocacy Group Leaders in 11 states where LEARN Behavioral operates. This engagement allows us to contribute firsthand to the shaping of policies that impact individuals with autism and their families. Additionally, our membership in the National Coalition for Access to Autism Services (NCAAS) underscores our commitment to addressing state and federal barriers to autism services. By collaborating with like-minded organizations, we strive to create a unified voice advocating for positive change on a broader scale.

2. Advancing Autism Equity Through State Organizations

At LEARN Behavioral, we understand the importance of grassroots efforts in promoting social justice. Our active involvement in local trade and professional organizations, including CalABA, BABAT, WAPA, ORABA, MAC, MIBAP, reflects our dedication to the larger behavior analytic community. Through volunteering and membership in these organizations, we aim to contribute to the development of equitable services for the diverse communities we serve. We believe that fostering connections within the behavioral community is crucial to creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.

3. Leading National Advocacy Efforts for Autism Policy Reform

LEARN Behavioral is fortunate to have resident experts in public policy who actively contribute to the
advancement of the autism community. LEARN leaders have published peer-reviewed journal articles on
public policy, presented at local and national conferences, and provided numerous testimonies
advocating for access to care. Our chief clinical officer, Dr. Hanna Rue, is a beacon of leadership in this
regard. Her participation in NCAAS’s “day on the hill” in Washington, D.C., exemplifies our commitment
to effecting change at the highest levels. By engaging with House and Senate offices, we strive to
influence initiatives that positively impact the autism community on a national scale.

4. LEARN Advocacy Network

The LEARN Advocacy Network, led by Dr. Rebecca Thompson, is a vital part of LEARN Behavioral’s public policy efforts, providing a monthly meeting ground for leaders from each state. Driving our advocacy initiatives, this collaborative team engages in meaningful discussions, sharing insights, and staying abreast of the latest developments in public policy. The network serves as a platform where LEARN Behavioral leaders exchange information, ensuring a well-coordinated and informed approach to navigating the complex landscape of policy initiatives.

As we observe National Social Justice Day, it is imperative to recognize the multifaceted approach LEARN Behavioral takes to contribute to a more just and equitable society. Through active participation in national and state organizations, as well as championing public policy initiatives, we are dedicated to making a lasting impact. Our commitment to social justice extends beyond our therapeutic interventions, reflecting our belief in the power of advocacy and policy to create positive change for individuals with autism and their families.

The Advances and Challenges of DEI Initiatives in ABA

Brandon Whitfield, Sr. Clinical Director for AST, part of LEARN Behavioral has presented at several conferences including BABA’s (Black Applied Behavior Analysts) inaugural conference to share ways ABA agencies can bring more equity to the field of ABA. In this conversation, Brandon discusses his role in helping to create The Black Master’s cohort and mentorship program as well as the ongoing need to prioritize DEI advancement in ABA. 

For more information: 

https://learnbehavioral.com/culture

https://learnbehavioral.com/culture/dei

Self-Care and Sensory Needs for Neurodivergent Individuals

Dr. Megan Anna Neff, a Neurodivergent Psychologist joins us to discuss discovering her own autism in the aftermath of her child’s diagnosis and how that has inspired her passion to support the neurodivergent community. Dr. Neff describes the experience of her autism revelation in this way, “For the first time in my life, my body made sense, my experience of self made sense, and it was a powerful moment of liberation.” We also delve into helpful strategies about sensory sensitivity and self-care that are helpful for adults and parents of children with autism.

For more information:

neurodivergentinsights.com

@neurodivergent_insights on Instagram

All Autism Talk (https://www.allautismtalk.com/) is sponsored by LEARN Behavioral (https://learnbehavioral.com).

Upholding Clinical Integrity: A Cornerstone for Leadership and Clinical Practice at LEARN Behavioral

Written by Dr. Ashley Williams, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D, Vice President

In the realm of healthcare and behavioral sciences, integrity stands as an unwavering pillar that supports both the practitioners and the individuals seeking assistance. Within LEARN Behavioral, a leading organization dedicated to enhancing lives through applied behavior analysis (ABA), the significance of clinical integrity resonates deeply, shaping not only the quality of services provided but also how we lead our teams.

The Essence of Clinical Integrity

Clinical integrity encompasses more than just adhering to ethical guidelines; it embodies a commitment to honesty, transparency, and a genuine dedication to the clients’ well-being. In the context of ABA, clinical integrity means adhering to evidence-based practices, valuing the principles of behavior analysis, and consistently providing high-quality services. As a leader at LEARN, integrity is my core value, and choosing to lead with integrity is a choice and commitment that I make each day to guide every decision I make.

Leadership and Clinical Integrity

As leaders, we understand that we serve as role models for our teams. We recognize that upholding clinical integrity isn’t just a checkbox but a responsibility that influences the organization’s culture and outcomes. When leaders prioritize integrity, it creates a ripple effect. Employees witness the importance of their work and feel empowered to maintain the same level of commitment. The leaders’ commitment to clinical integrity sets the tone for the team, fostering an environment of trust, professionalism, and continuous learning.

Impact on Employees

For employees, working within a culture of clinical integrity brings a profound sense of purpose, pride, and trust. When team members see their leaders consistently making ethical decisions and prioritizing evidence-based practices, it enhances their job satisfaction and motivation. They feel secure in the knowledge that they contribute to meaningful change in clients’ lives. This sense of fulfillment, in turn, translates into increased productivity, better teamwork, and reduced burnout.

Impact on Clients

Clients receiving ABA services from LEARN benefit from an organization rooted in clinical integrity. They can trust that their well-being is the top priority and that the interventions and strategies suggested are backed by contemporary, evidence-based behavior analysis. This trust is vital in fostering a strong therapist-client relationship, a cornerstone of successful behavior intervention. Clients experience progress that is not only effective but ethical, ensuring their dignity and respect are upheld throughout their journey.

What does clinical integrity look like each day? Here are a few examples:

  • Commitment to Neurodiversity: LEARN’s commitment to contemporary ABA and supporting neurodivergence goes hand-in-hand with clinical integrity by promoting the dignity and respect of all of our clients in all settings and at all times.
  • Continuous Professional Development: LEARN offers a monthly Speaker Series and a library of recorded trainings for our clinicians, allowing both behavior technicians (BTs) and behavior analysts access to continuing education on an ongoing basis.
  • Adherence to the Ethical Code: The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) Ethics Code and relevant state licensure requirements, as applicable, serve to guide our clinical practice.
  • Honesty in Reporting Data: As behavior analysts, we are responsible for maintaining data accurately and honestly.
  • Clinical Assessments and Evaluations: Regular assessments and evaluations ensure that practices remain aligned with the latest research and ethical standards. Our clinicians choose from a battery of assessments that includes norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tools that help inform their clinical practice.


A commitment to clinical integrity is at the heart of our practice at LEARN. As we see the field of behavior analysis evolve and as our company continues to grow and change, our support of clinical integrity is our constant. My hope as a leader is for all clinicians to make a renewed commitment to leading with integrity every day. Collectively, a shared commitment to honesty, transparency, and respect will profoundly impact the clients we serve and build trust in the autism community.

Ashley Williams is a Vice President at LEARN Behavioral.

The Importance of Ethical Decision Making For Behavior Analysts

Dr. Linda LeBlanc, a Licensed Psychologist and author of 3 books on supervision joins us to discuss her latest book about ethics which she co-authored with Dr. Amanda Karsten, who is the Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Grand Valley State University. Their new book titled Proactive and Practical Decision Making for Behavior Analysis explores the critical need for continually examining and evolving the role of ethics in providing services. As Dr. Karsten shared, “I hope we can help normalize the range of emotions that early career folks may be experiencing but also empower them with strategies they can put into motion and navigate step by step. And to know that being in a difficult ethical situation is not going to overwhelm them.”

For more information:

https://sloanpublishing.com/ethics

All Autism Talk (https://www.allautismtalk.com/) is sponsored by LEARN Behavioral (https://learnbehavioral.com/learnacademy).

How ABA Therapy Helped Our Children Succeed: Insights from Two BCBA Moms


In this informative video, two Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) moms, Heather and Trisha, share their personal experiences with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy and how it has helped their children succeed. For more information about our ABA Therapy services, visit: https://lrnbvr.com/yt-aba-moms

Q&A About ABA Therapy for Children with Autism

FAQ for Caregivers

Was your child recently diagnosed with autism? Are you beginning to navigate treatment for your child? Before you get started, check out these FAQs about ABA therapy.

What is the goal of ABA therapy?

ABA therapy is designed to support autistic individuals and their families, achieve their identified goals, and improve their quality of life. ABA-based interventions are supported by decades of research and enhance social, communication, play, and adaptive skills. Services incorporate the needs and interests of the autistic individual and their caregiver(s). A behavior analyst delivers the ABA services with the help of behavior technicians, who often provide direct care to the autistic individual. Services are tailored to the individual’s unique needs, with their feedback, and evolve over time. Services for children may look quite different than services for adults, given the individuals’ needs differ over time.

What is “contemporary ABA” therapy?

At LEARN, we refer to our approach as “contemporary ABA.” It is an evolved approach to ABA therapy that promotes individualized treatment, naturalistic and play-based teaching, and is person-centered. LEARN provides a contemporary approach that acknowledges the evolution of ABA, values the individual and their family, and creates space for individuality. Practicing contemporary ABA therapy means that our behavior analysts deeply understand their responsibility to positively and meaningfully impact the lives of the individuals served.

How many hours of ABA therapy will my child receive?

Your child’s hours will be determined between you and your behavior analyst. Your behavior analyst recommends hours based on assessing your child’s needs, other therapies received, and your feedback as the parent/caregiver. Focused programs range from 10-25 hours per week, and comprehensive programs range from 30-40 hours weekly. At LEARN, we provide home-based, center-based, and community-based services, and you can reach out to your local clinical director to find out which services are available in your area. Check out this video to learn about the number of hours clinically recommended for your child.

Are your ABA therapy services individualized?

Absolutely! Each autistic person we serve is unique, and we believe that should be celebrated. Our goal is to promote individual interests and incorporate those into ABA therapy. Behavior analysts make individualized recommendations for services, including hours based on the child and customized goals that fit their needs. Behavior therapists receive training on how to understand the preferences of their clients and include those in sessions to make them fun, rewarding, and engaging.

How is neurodiversity integrated into your approach to ABA therapy?

Listening to the perspective of autistic folks has informed our approach to ABA therapy and led us to incorporate neurodiversity into our practice. Our goal is to elevate the autistic voices in our community, including the individuals we serve, our neurodivergent employees, and the greater neurodivergent community. We’re deeply committed to person-centered ABA therapy practices and promote assent-based care, meaning we validate the identities and experiences of neurodivergent folks and create space for autistic voices to be heard and upheld. Learn more about our commitment to neurodiversity here.

Will my child be required to do discrete trials and sit at a table?

Not all autistic folks benefit from discrete trials or table-top work. For example, a two-year-old child with lots of energy may benefit more from a play-based approach with the therapist sitting on the floor and embedding learning opportunities in play with their favorite toy. Behavior analysts overseeing the treatment plan take time to assess the individual’s needs and work collaboratively with the family to identify an approach to treatment that will work best for the child.

What if someone doesn’t want ABA therapy?

We understand that not everyone seeks ABA therapy, feels it’s the best fit, or perhaps, thinks it’s the right time to try. As with other medical services, the patient (along with their caregiver, if a child) has the right to decide when, if, and what treatment is right for them. Not all ABA therapy providers have the same approach, either, and LEARN supports a family’s right to choose a provider that meets their needs and is a good match for their treatment goals. We want families and our clients to be excited about services and encourage collaboration on our journey together.

Reviewed by Dr. Ashley Williams, PhD, LABA, BCBA-D, Sr. Clinical Director

To learn more about ABA, visit our website. You can also search our locations here.

How Neurodiverse Voices are Influencing the Evolution of ABA

Dr. Becky Thompson, Director of Clinical Services for the Wisconsin Early Autism Project (WEAP), and Reux Lennon, Non-binary member of both the LGBT and Autism community and Lead technician with WEAP join us to share their work on the Person-Centered ABA team and the Neurodivergent Advisory Committee.  Dr. Thompson leads LEARN’s Person-Centered ABA team, which is a group of clinical leaders within LEARN who are dedicated to compassionate and individualized ABA services. Reux shares how their work as one of the original members of the Neurodivergent Advisory Committee is creating change and including neurodivergent voices and perspectives.

For more information visit:

https://learnbehavioral.com/culture/neurodiversity

All Autism Talk (https://www.allautismtalk.com/) is sponsored by LEARN Behavioral (https://learnbehavioral.com).