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).

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

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.

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).

LEARN’s Behavior Technician Training: Our Commitment to Excellence

LEARN recognizes the critical role that effective training plays in the success of any program or initiative. As a result, we have invested heavily in redesigning our Behavior Technician (BT) Training program to ensure that all our trainees receive the highest quality training possible. With nearly 5,000 BTs working on the front lines each day to provide contemporary ABA services to children with autism and their families, it is essential that our BT training is up-to-date, comprehensive, and effective.

In the fall of 2021, LEARN undertook a significant endeavor to revamp our BT training program, focusing on providing all trainees with a thorough understanding of the core principles of ABA. We collaborated with renowned experts from ABA Technologies to guide the redesign of our program, ensuring that it meets all the requirements for the Registered Behavior Technician® (RBT®) exam and that our BTs are fully prepared to deliver exceptional services to our clients. Additionally, our BTs receive individualized, client-focused training provided by supervisors once they are in the field.

Our commitment to using the most effective training methods and incorporating the latest evidence-based practices sets our BT training apart from similar programs.

Our program includes five core components:

Direct Instruction

We believe high-quality training requires a strategic and deliberate approach grounded in evidence-based practice. Our training approach is based on direct instruction, a method that emphasizes carefully developed instructional sequences using explicit teaching techniques. With direct instruction, our trainers provide our trainees with clear and concise guidance on how to master new skills and knowledge while ensuring they are fully engaged in the learning process.

But direct instruction is more than just an effective teaching method. It’s also a dynamic and fun training experience that motivates trainees to learn and achieve their goals. Using this approach, we create an engaging and supportive learning environment that encourages active participation and fosters a sense of community among our trainees.

Of course, to ensure that our trainers deliver the highest-quality training possible, we have invested heavily in their professional development. All of our trainers participate in extensive training in direct instruction and receive ongoing support and feedback regarding their use of training techniques. This ensures that our trainers are always up-to-date with the latest best practices in training and can provide our trainees with the most effective instruction possible. At LEARN, we’re committed to providing a world-class training experience that is both effective and enjoyable, and we believe that our approach to direct instruction is a key part of that commitment.

Preview of Impact

We understand that the workforce is constantly evolving, and many people are now seeking meaningful and rewarding employment. With this in mind, we designed our new BT training program to provide trainees with the skills and knowledge they need to make a positive impact on the lives of their clients and their families.

The LEARN BT training program emphasizes the importance of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and its ability to create lasting change in our clients’ lives. Trainees will hear directly from BTs who work in the field and have experienced firsthand the triumphs and victories of working with families. The majority of the training program focuses on learning how to use a variety of techniques and strategies used in ABA therapy and implement them effectively to achieve the best possible outcomes for their clients. Throughout the training program, trainees will have many opportunities to demonstrate their skills and receive feedback.

By emphasizing the impact that ABA can have on clients and their families, we aim to inspire our trainees to approach their work with a sense of purpose and dedication. By providing our trainees with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed, we can help them build rewarding and fulfilling careers that make a real difference in the lives of others.

Live, Small Group Instruction

We take great pride in our team of highly-motivated, dedicated, and skilled trainers to ensure the success of our trainees. Our trainers are not only experts in their fields but also possess a wealth of experience working with trainees from diverse backgrounds with varying experiences. They have an in-depth understanding of how to create an effective learning environment that is supportive, engaging, and personalized to meet the unique needs of each trainee.

To achieve this, we use a highly interactive and engaging training approach that emphasizes hands-on learning experiences. Conducted in small groups, our live training sessions allow our trainers to provide each trainee with individual attention, support, and feedback. This approach ensures that trainees can practice and apply their new skills and knowledge and receive immediate feedback on their progress.

DE&I Integration

We believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are essential to creating a positive and productive work environment. We understand that a diverse workforce not only brings unique perspectives and experiences but also fosters creativity, innovation, and growth. That’s why we’re committed to supporting robust DEI initiatives that enable all employees to feel valued, supported, and empowered.

Our approach involves facilitating access to various resources, affinity groups, and training programs that promote DEI in the workplace. These initiatives include regular workshops and training sessions designed to help employees better understand DEI issues and learn how to apply best practices in their day-to-day work. Our trainers highlight the importance of DEI initiatives and encourage active participation from all employees.

Moreover, we believe that DEI initiatives are not just a box-ticking exercise but a fundamental aspect of our organizational culture. We recognize that fostering a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion requires ongoing commitment, engagement, and action from everyone in our organization. As such, we encourage all employees to actively promote DEI and share their experiences, ideas, and perspectives with others.

Child Development & Play Training

At LEARN, we take pride in serving a diverse age range of clients, specifically young children. We recognize children are naturally curious and playful and that play is essential to their development. As such, we prioritize training our staff to engage children in meaningful and developmentally-appropriate play activities. We designed our training program to provide staff with the skills and knowledge they need to facilitate play-based learning experiences that are both fun and educational. We cover many topics, from the basics of child development to the latest approaches in naturalistic teaching. Our trainers work closely with staff to ensure they have a deep understanding of how to play with children at different developmental levels and tailor activities to meet each child’s unique needs and interests. By investing in our staff and providing them with the tools they need to succeed, we provide high-quality care to the young autistic children we serve.

Within LEARN, we’re committed to providing our trainees with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to succeed in their careers. Our BT training program is just the beginning of a lifelong journey of learning and professional growth. We believe that ongoing education and skill development are essential for staying competitive in today’s fast-paced and constantly evolving job market.

That’s why we offer a range of advanced training programs, workshops, and continuing education courses that enable our trainees to deepen their knowledge and stay up-to-date with the latest best practices in their field. We’re dedicated to supporting career advancement and providing our trainees with the resources and guidance they need to achieve their professional goals.

Whether you’re just starting your career or looking to take the next step, LEARN is here to support you every step of the way. We’re committed to providing a world-class training experience that empowers our trainees to achieve their full potential and positively impact their communities.

Interested in working with us? Search our careers here: https://learnbehavioral.com/careers

To learn more about working as a BT, read “What in the World Is a Behavior Tech?” and check out our “Top 5 Reasons to Become a Behavior Tech.”

Successful Models for Assent-Based Vaccine Clinics

Kerry Hoops the current President of the Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin and the clinical director for Wisconsin Early Autism Project’s Green Bay region joins us to share about a unique clinic event and what can be learned. Kerry shares details of sensory-friendly covid vaccine events that utilized assent-based practice to create a comfortable experience for children. As Kerry put it, “When it was time for the shot, that was determined by the child. We were very open and honest with the child and let them know it would only happen when they said it was ok.” 

5 Tips for Navigating Autism Treatment for Your Multilingual Child

Maia Jackson, M.S., BCBA
Clinical Development Manager, LEARN Behavioral

Language development is a critical component of the day-to-day lives of young children. It is used within a variety of contexts, including playing with peers, building relationships, functionally communicating needs, etc. As such, there is a heavy emphasis on language and communication built into most applied behavior analytic (ABA) programs. Because such a heavy emphasis is placed on language, it is important that practitioners are mindful of the specific language or languages that are incorporated in the therapeutic setting. In order for ABA programs to be socially significant, services should represent and accommodate for the dominant language of the family. By doing so, children and their families will experience a variety of benefits.

By promoting the use of the family’s native language, children have an increased likelihood of communication opportunities with their immediate and extended families, friends, and community. In addition to having more opportunities to communicate, the quality of the interactions will be more meaningful as caregivers are more likely to effectively express their own emotions, hold their child’s attention, and more thoroughly discuss topics of interest when using their native language (Zhou, et al., 2019). There are also benefits to multilingualism outside of the familial unit. Research has shown that children who are raised in multilingual homes tend to demonstrate higher perspective talking skills than children who do not (Zhou, et al., 2019). Despite all of the benefits to speaking one’s native language, families often face a number of barriers, especially when seeking out autism-related services.

While we live in a culturally diverse country, English remains the dominant language in most regions of the U.S. When children turn on the TV, chances are the shows they watch are in English. When they go to school, they will receive a primarily English education and their peers will speak primarily English. Autistic individuals who receive behavior analytic treatment in the U.S. are likely receiving those services in English. Despite all of these barriers, there are ways for parents and caregivers to advocate for their bilingual children and family.

1. Look for providers who speak your native language

One of the first measures to take when selecting a service provider is to request clinicians who speak your native language. Bilingual service providers can be hard to find and it may take time, but let your provider know your preference so they can attempt to hire and/or pair you with appropriate staff members.

2. Request translation services.

In cases where there are no staff members available to provide services in your native language, consider asking for translation services. Even if you are proficient in English, it may be easier or feel more comfortable for you to communicate in your native language. Per the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts, the clinician you are working with should make every effort to effectively communicate with you and provide you with the opportunity to ask questions and participate in the development and implementation of your child’s program.

3. Consider the assessment language.

If your child speaks a language other than English, it is important to discuss the benefits of your child being assessed in that language. Providers use assessment results as a tool to guide the clinical program and decision making. Having the results of the assessment in your child’s primary or dominant languages will give a more accurate picture of your child’s strengths and areas of need. The starting point of the program will be more representative of your child’s language abilities.


4. Ensure the program is visually representative of your child and your family.

Visual tools and stimuli are often used as prompts, supports, and/or reinforcement systems within many ABA programs. These visual supports may serve to outline a schedule for the day, visuals might accompany a short narrative or story describing a social scenario your child might encounter, or you might see visual images used as reminders or prompts of what steps come next in routine with multiple steps, such as hand washing.  These visual items should be representative of your child and your family. Discuss incorporating your native language and culture into these items in order to promote their use and acceptance by your child. If your child accepts the stimuli and is motivated to use them, effectiveness of their intended purpose will likely increase. 

5. Discuss your language and other cultural values with your team.

Per the Ethical Code for Behavior Analysts, your cultural norms, traditions, and expectations should be extended through all aspects of the ABA program. Social interactions, communication, play activities, and activities of daily living are areas that are addressed in many ABA programs and are going to be affected by language, culture, and traditions. Discussing the ways your language and culture impact your day-to-day routines and expectations will help the clinical team develop and implement a program that is best suited to your child and your family.  

Serving as the navigator and advocator of your child’s services is a huge role. Advocating for language will often be just as important as advocating for hours, goals, or other supports.  Use your team to provide support and to feel empowered to be the advocate your child and your family need.

Supports at LEARN:

  • Document translation services
  • Translation services
  • Language Resource Library
  • Staff training and tools related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Zhou, A., Munson, J.A., Greenson, J., Jou, Y., Rogers, S., Estes A.M. (2019). An exploratory longitudinal study of social language outcomes in children with autism in bilingual home environments. Autism, 23(2), 394-304.