ABA Center’s Founder Has a Personal Connection to Serving Those With Autism

When we suspect that a loved one may have autism or when we have already received a diagnosis, it can sometimes be frustrating to find timely or up-to-date support. It’s been well-documented that assessing and monitoring for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) should begin as early as possible to ensure that children receive the services and support they need to thrive best, regardless of their abilities or place on the spectrum.

Christopher Barnett, CEO of ABA Centers of America, knows all too well the delays that can occur with treatment for ASD. Like many families affected by ASD, he had family members who waited far too long to receive adequate treatment and necessary services. In 2020, Barnett decided to tackle this pain point of the industry head-on and start the ABA Centers of America as a new approach to providing services for those with autism and their families. 

“Both of my nieces are on the autism spectrum and had a very difficult time getting treatment,” explains Barnett. “They languished for years waiting even to 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.”

ABA Therapy 

The ABA in ABA Centers of America’s name stands for Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy. ABA has now become relied on as an evidence-based best practice in Autism treatment. The technique involves seeking to truly understand behavior. Because autism exists on a spectrum, behaviors can run the gamut. With ABA therapy, the patient’s environment and how one learns are taken into consideration as providers work to teach necessary behavioral skills. The ABA Centers of America work hard to help their patients develop skills that will carry them through every stage of life, as autism is a lifelong disorder.   

Children with autism and teens with autism are taught different skills, depending on where they are emotionally, developmentally, and socially. ABA therapy allows caregivers to teach crucial life skills in a fun way, provide alternatives to problem behaviors, and build up inherent skills.

Learning in-house 

When Barnett set out to disrupt the Autism therapy space, wait times for care were one of the pain points he hoped to address head-on. He had witnessed far too many people wait years for proper diagnosis and therapy; all the while, their children were not learning the necessary skills they needed to live fulfilling lives. 

One of the most innovative ways Barnett and ABA Centers of America has tackled the issue of wait times is by offering in-house training for providers. The focus is on equipping providers with the tools they need to deliver applied behavior analysis therapy through the ABA Academy of Excellence school. This internal program empowers new providers to learn and apply their education in real-life scenarios. The program has been exceedingly successful, consistently resulting in the student receiving higher-than-average certification scores. This in-house attention to training detail assures that every ABA Centers of America provider is equipped with the skills needed to give superior quality care. ABA Centers of America also provides its providers with hands-on experience and guidance through its Precepting Program. This training program pairs Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs) with experienced RBT preceptors. “This isn’t the kind of place where you clock in and check your mind at the door,” says Barnett, “You are helping clients and their families in ways that truly matter.”

In an industry that can typically see a 1-2 year timeline from a parent’s first phone call until a child is actually able to access care, ABA Centers of America is proud that they have hundreds of kids in care, with their average time from a parent’s first phone call to the child accessing full-time care being less than 52 days. This industry-leading expediency and validation highlights precisely how Barnett and his team are delivering on their promise to do it better.

In addition to excellent hands-on training, the significant benefit of the in-house Academy of Excellence is the reduced wait times and the ability to offer patients a full continuum of care. It is a benefit that Barnett sees as the genuinely change-making part of the care puzzle. “My background in building healthcare entities, our talented providers, and our investment in technology and education has allowed us to flourish in unforeseen ways in this space,” says Barnett. 

With quick access to care, highly trained, career-focused staff, and community building on his mind, Barnett is paving new roads for Autism therapy. The extensive effort put forth to change the status quo has made ABA Centers of America not only one of the best places to train for a career as a Registered Behavior Technician but one of the premiere places to seek continuous care for people with autism.  


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