ABA Autism Programs

The Kaufman Children’s Center offers applied behavior analysis (ABA) programs with a specialization in applied verbal behavior (AVB) for children on the autism spectrum. Experienced board-certified behavior analysts and speech-language pathologists work together to help children understand and use language for functional and social communication. Many children also receive occupational therapy at the KCC for a true team approach to the treatment of autism.

Signs & Symptoms of Autism

Red flags that could indicate your child needs further evaluation for ASD

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Get Started at the KCC

We're here to help! Here's how to get started with an ABA program.

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All About ABA Treatment

Information on applied behavior analysis and why it's the best first step

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Photo & Video Gallery

Check out the Kaufman Center's treatment programs in action

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ABA Options at the KCC

Learn more about our intensive early ABA treatment for kids age 2-7

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Meet Our ABA Staff

Our therapists are known for their clinical skills and insight into children.

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Signs & Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism is a spectrum disorder and therefore it can range from very mild to severe. Some children may seem to be developing typically and then appear to regress and lose skills around 18-24 months. Other children may have developmental delays that are apparent earlier.

 

Because early intervention is so important to minimizing the delays associated with autism, it is critical to diagnose and treat autism as soon as it is suspected.  A “wait and see” approach may be suggested by some, but if you are worried about autism, it is important to seek an evaluation by qualified professionals right away.

 

Contact your pediatrician and express your concerns if you notice your child:

  • Does not reliably turn and respond when called by name
  • Does not demonstrate “pretend” play
  • Does not show they understand language by responding to directions (touch tummy, go get)
  • Has few words or delayed speech
  • Does not point to show interest in something
  • Becomes easily upset by changes in routine
  • Has interests that seem odd or obsessive, such as ordering items or lining them up
  • Does not use eye contact to support communication
  • Engages in mannerisms such as flapping or twisting hands or fingers
  • Does not use gestures to communicate but rather uses hand leading to show what they want
M-CHAT Online Screening Tool

The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) is a two-stage parent-report screening tool to assess risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It was designed to identify children 16 to 30 months of age who should receive a more thorough assessment for possible early signs of ASD or developmental delay.

All About ABA Treatment

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) uses the most research-based methods to treat autism spectrum disorder and maximize a child’s ability to function successfully across all aspects of school and home. Therapy includes both structured teaching and naturalistic teaching that occurs during play and other activities of daily living.

 

ABA offers a two-prong approach: it helps children acquire critical skills to be successful and also identifies and reduces challenging behaviors that interfere with daily life.

Critical Skills Taught in ABA

  • Communicating wants and needs
  • Understanding language
  • Imitating the motor actions of others
  • Developing appropriate play skills
  • Social skills and group behavior
  • Toilet training
  • Early cognitive/academic skills

Behaviors Reduced in ABA

  • Repetitive behaviors (hand flapping, making non-speech sounds)
  • Tantrums when not given something they desire
  • Tantrums when told to do something that is less preferred
  • Difficulty with waiting
  • Difficulty with transitions throughout the day

KCC Treatment Options

The Kaufman Children’s Center’s intensive early ABA program has enjoyed a reputation of excellence for over 10 years.  We were providing the highest quality treatment long before most centers in Michigan came to exist.

 

Our ABA program is unique in that it includes an emphasis on communication (verbal behavior). Highly trained speech-language pathologists provide input on a daily basis to successfully address the unique needs of children with autism who also struggle to produce speech.

 

Children also benefit from the coordination of ABA, speech-language, and occupational therapists who work together daily under one roof. Our team approach ensures support of all of the child’s goals to the maximum extent across all settings.

 

The KCC offers ABA treatment within our beautiful, state-of-the-art clinic. Children may also receive ABA in the home setting or in both settings for a combined approach.  Home-based programs are staffed with the same technicians who provide services in our clinic setting.

 

Scroll down to find out how to get started at the KCC!

Center-Based ABA Treatment

Autism programs on site at the Kaufman Children's Center

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Home-Based ABA Treatment

Autism programs in the child's natural environment

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How to Begin

Our staff is excited to help you get started at the Kaufman Children’s Center! Here’s what to expect.

GET A DIAGNOSIS

 

Your first step is to schedule an autism diagnostic evaluation at an approved autism evaluation center (AAEC). Contact your insurance provider to locate an AAEC that is in your network. A recommendation for ABA is typically made at this time.

GIVE US SOME INFO

 

Please give us some basic information about your child via our ABA intake form HERE. Once you submit the form, one of our board-certified behavior analysts will give you a call. They will discuss your child’s needs with you and provide information on the status of our waiting list.

RECEIVE AN ASSESSMENT

 

An effective ABA program starts with a thorough assessment. We review your child’s areas of strengths and needs and obtain input from you as the parent/caregiver. Every ABA program is individualized as is as unique as the child for whom it is designed.

 

We use the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Planning Program (VB-MAPP) as our assessment and tool for selecting goals.  Because have access to speech-language pathologists daily for every child, we can identify the most appropriate goals for improving speech intelligibility and language processing.

ABOUT INSURANCE

 

Kaufman Children’s Center provides ABA treatment through the following providers: Health Alliance Plan (HAP), Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Michigan, and Blue Care Network. Check your individual plan to determine if ABA is a covered benefit.

 

An authorization for treatment will need to be obtained.  You are responsible for any deductibles, copays, or coinsurance costs.

ABA Program Staff

All members of the KCC staff represent the highest standards of excellence in their field and have extensive experience in pediatric therapy. Continuing education is supported and encouraged to ensure our methods are as up-to-date as possible. Our staff members are part of the KCC team because of their expertise, outstanding clinical skills, and their warmth and insight into children.

KERRY PETERSON

MA, CCC-SLP, BCBA
Director of Autism Programs
Board-Certified Behavior Analyst &
Speech-Language Pathologist

Meet Kerry

Kerry is the director of applied behavior analysis (ABA) autism program at the Kaufman Children’s Center. She is both a speech language pathologist and board certified behavior analyst with unique expertise in autism spectrum disorders. Kerry earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and speech and hearing from the University of Michigan and her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Michigan State University. She completed the requirements of a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) through the Florida Institute of Technology. Kerry worked for over 10 years in the public school system where she evaluated and treated children of all ages with autism spectrum disorders, and has taught graduate-level courses in speech-language pathology at Eastern Michigan University as a visiting instructor. Kerry has presented multiple training conferences on autism and related topics, including effective assessment and treatment of challenging behaviors for several school districts (Dexter Community Schools, Ann Arbor Public Schools, Rochester Public Schools), community-based organizations (Metro Parent: Living with Autism Workshop, Community Mental Health-Michigan, Step-Up for Autism: Arkansas), and universities as part of the Autism Treatment Network (University of Arkansas).

AMANDA PRATER

MA, BCBA
Board-Certified Behavior Analyst
ABA Program Supervisor

Meet Amanda

Amanda earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western Michigan University in 2008 and her master’s in applied behavior analysis from WMU in 2010. She became certified as a board-certified behavior analyst later that year.

 

Before coming to the KCC, Amanda was training coordinator in Pennsylvania, teaching staff ABA orientation and crisis management, and coordinating professional development opportunities. She also worked as a behavior analyst in a residential treatment facility, conducting functional analyses and developing clinical programming for children with severe challenging behavior.

 

Amanda enjoys watching children learn to communicate and helping parents to make a positive change at home. She finds it rewarding to see a reduction in challenging behavior and watching kids engaging in functional activities.

LINDSAY MUNCEY

MA, BCBA
Board-Certified Behavior Analyst
ABA Program Supervisor

Meet Lindsay

Coming soon

KELLY ZAHORCHAK

MA, BCBA
Board-Certified Behavior Analyst
ABA Program Supervisor

Meet Kelly

Coming soon

BRIANNA JENKINS

MA, SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
ABA Department

Meet Brianna

Brianna is a speech-language pathologist who will be working directly with children at the KCC who are on the autism spectrum. She earned bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and linguistics from the University of Michigan and a master’s in speech-language pathology from Eastern Michigan.

 

Brianna has prior experience as an ABA technician in a therapy center. She student taught at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor and interned at two elementary schools and in the craniofacial anomalies program at CS Mott Children’s Hospital. Brianna presented at the American Speech –Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) national convention on interprofessional collaboration in 2016.

 

Brianna is engaged to be married in August of 2017. She and her fiancé were both student athletes at the University of Michigan and love football, track and field, and soccer. Brianna enjoys volunteering as a track and field coach and traveling. She studied abroad in Spain while in college and likes to practice speaking Spanish. Brianna also enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Practicum Partnership with MSU & WMU

 

Kaufman Children’s Center is proud to be an approved practicum site for the prestigious ABA graduate programs at both Michigan State University and Western Michigan University.

 

Our board-certified behavior analysts work closely with these graduate students, sharing proven techniques and supervising a quality fieldwork experience as they strive to complete their own BCBA coursework.

ABA Technicians

 

We only hire the highest-qualified candidates and our ABA technicians are dedicated to awesome outcomes. Each tech holds a bachelor’s degree in a related field, undergoes a background check, and receives a minimum of one month’s training before working with children. Ongoing education is also provided so our staff stays current on the newest methods.

ALYSON BONO

ABA Tech

Meet Alyson

Alyson graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in child development. She has previous experience as an ABA tech and as a paraprofessional in an ASD therapy classroom at Livonia Public Schools. Alyson loves spending time with her family, going to concerts, and being on the lake in the summer.

TABITHA BUDAJ

ABA Tech

Meet Tabitha

Tabitha has worked with children for over 10 years and holds a BS in biology from Oakland University. Her hobbies include hiking, water sports, tennis, and doing pretty much anything outdoors. She also loves animals and reading.

DANIELLE FAHL

ABA Tech

Meet Dani

Dani is a graduate of the University of Michigan where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She has previous ABA experience and enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling north on the weekends, and watching football.

SHAYLA FORGIONE

ABA Tech

Meet Shayla

Shayla graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders and is currently studying at Wayne State for a master’s in educational psychology and certification as a board-certified behavior analyst. She has previous experience in ABA and child care. Shayla enjoys volleyball, reading, and traveling.

AMANDA GONZALEZ

ABA Tech

Meet Amanda

Amanda earned a BA from Mount Mary University in art therapy and an MS in psychology from Palo Alto University. She has worked with youth in a hospital setting, in the juvenile justice system, and through an early autism project in Wisconsin. She and her boyfriend Neil have an Australian Shepherd named Willow. Amanda enjoys exercise of all kinds, reading, painting, and drawing. She especially loves traveling and experiencing new cultures.

RITA HORTON

ABA Tech

Meet Rita

Sharita graduated from Central Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in American Sign Language. Her post-bachelor’s work is in speech pathology at Wayne State University. She has previous experience as an ABA technician and enjoys bowling, shopping, and sushi.

ARBANA LIKA

ABA Tech

Meet Arbana

Arbana graduated from Western Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in science. She has previous experience as an ABA tech in Kalamazoo, MI. Arbana has two dogs – Nico and Louie – and enjoys painting, taking walks/hiking, being outdoors, cooking, and shopping.

MIMI LOUYA

ABA Tech

Meet Mimi

Coming soon

NICOLE MARION

ABA Tech

Meet Nicole

Nicole earned her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Michigan State University. She has previous experience in ABA and has also worked as a marketing intern and a victim/witness counselor. Nicole completed the Hawaii Study Away program in 2014 and served as president of the Education Advocacy Center from 2012-2014. She enjoys interior and architectural design, animals, good music, and burgers.

CHANEL MARTIN

ABA Tech

Meet Chanel

Coming soon

JELENA MILICEVIC

ABA Tech

Meet Jelena

Jelena graduated from Oakland University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is working toward her BCBA certification. She has previous experience as an ABA tech and also as an assistant director of a child development center. Jelena enjoys reading, traveling, playing soccer, and attending music festivals.

MEREDITH MILINKO

ABA Tech

Meet Meredith

Meredith received her undergrad degree in psychology with an emphasis on communication and science disorders from Grand Valley State University in 2014. She is currently working on her master’s degree at Ball State University to become a board-certified behavior analyst. Meredith enjoys traveling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and boating on her lake as well as working out and cooking.

LAQUITA MIMS

ABA Tech

Meet LaQuita

LaQuita earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Michigan State University. She has previous experience as an ABA tech, adoption specialist, and youth specialist. She is engaged and is mom to a son named Mathias. LaQuita enjoys movies of all kinds, playing Candy Crush and Monopoly, and watching The Walking Dead, Outlander, and Game of Thrones.

CAMERON MITCHELL

ABA Tech

Meet Cameron

Cameron graduated from Adrian College with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He has previous experience in ABA and enjoys seeing improvement in a child and knowing he made a difference in their life. While at Adrian, Cameron played defensive end for the school’s football team, which won the MIAA championship in 2012. He has a one-year-old English Bullmastiff named Vito.

KRISTYN PARKER

ABA Tech

Meet Kristyn

Kristyn earned her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from Central Michigan. She has previous ABA experience in the hospital setting and enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family.

EMILY POREMBA

ABA Tech

Meet Emily

Emily is a graduate of Madonna University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in K-8 elementary education with a math minor, as well as her master’s in the art of teaching with a concentration in learning disabilities. She previously worked as a private kindergarten teacher. Emily enjoys traveling, reading, working out, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.

KRISTI RASSEGA

ABA Tech

Meet Kristi

Kristi graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in child development and minors in communication disorders and American Sign Language (ASL). She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in speech pathology from Nova Southeastern University and has previous experience working with children with special needs. Kristi and her boyfriend Nevin have a Maltipoo named Miggy and love spending time with family and friends, traveling, and watching the Detroit Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings.

MEGAN REED

ABA Tech

Meet Megan

Megan earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Michigan State University. She has previous experience as an ABA technician and as a kindergarten aide in San Francisco. She enjoys cheering on MSU athletics, painting, and travel.

JESSICA SLEP

ABA Tech

Meet Jessica

Jessica graduated from Grand Valley with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is working on a master’s in applied behavioral analysis from Western Michigan. She enjoys dance, yoga, reading, and going to the movies with her husband, Jakob.

JESSICA ZUCAL

ABA Tech

Meet Jessica

Jessica graduated from Western Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She has previous ABA experience in both center-based and home settings. Jessica loves spending time with friends and family and enjoys going up north for bonfires, cookouts, and boating.