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Center for Learning and Autism Support Services (CLASS) Earns Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Accreditation

By Krista Wynne,

San Mateo County Autism Treatment Center Named as Top National Behavioral Service Provider

The Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE) has recognized the Center for Learning and Autism Support Services, also known as CLASS, with an accreditation acknowledging the organization as a behavioral service provider committed to continuous improvement in Applied Behavior Analysis service delivery. The Accreditation represents behavioral health providers committed to continuous peer review, measurement for outcome analysis and strives to excel in areas of clinical quality, staff satisfaction and qualifications, and consumer satisfaction. These areas are measured via a wide-ranging audit, including interviews with agency clinical leadership, a detailed staff qualification review, anonymous staff satisfaction survey, and anonymous consumer satisfaction survey.

“CLASS is an example of dedication to continuous improvement in providing effective and ethical care to individuals with autism and developmental disabilities,” said Sara Gershfeld Litvak, Founder of BHCOE. “We are excited to congratulate Denise Pollard, Founder and President of CLASS, and her team on building a sustainable ABA program that has systems in place for continuous improvement. They are an incredible resource throughout the State of California and beyond.”

BHCOE Accreditation is the only ABA-specific accreditation. It provides feedback regarding clinical best practices, staff satisfaction and staff turnover, and consumer protection. Acting as a third-party, the organization systematically measures and reports on existing quality criteria in the behavior analysis community using standardized methods and practices, and accredits only those service agencies that meet these standards.

“We are honored for CLASS to be recognized as an Accredited Behavioral Health Center of Excellence. Due to our team’s dedication to providing effective, creative, and compassionate care, we are grateful to be able to assist our clients in making meaningful progress in behavioral, social, and academic areas. – DENISE POLLARD, MA, BCBA

“We are honored for CLASS to be recognized as an Accredited Behavioral Health Center of Excellence.  Due to our team’s dedication to providing effective, creative, and compassionate care, we are grateful to be able to assist our clients in making meaningful progress in behavioral, social, and academic areas,” said Denise Pollard, MA, BCBA. “Our therapists are committed to developing and implementing quality individualized services to improve the quality of life for our clients and their families. We are thrilled to be receiving this Accreditation from the BHCOE and we look forward to the continuous improvement of our services throughout California for years to come.”

About Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE)

The Behavioral Health Center of Excellence is a trusted source that recognizes top-performing behavioral health providers. BHCOE offers a third-party measurement system that differentiates top services providers from exceptional services providers.  The BHCOE criterion features standards that subject-matter experts developed to measure state-of-the-art behavioral health services. For more information, visit http://www.bhcoe.org/.

 

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What is center of excellence? 

A center of excellence is an organization that values clinical quality, staff satisfaction and parent satisfaction while providing ABA services.

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Can anyone become a BHCOE? 

No, providers are not given the accreditation, it is earned. Providers are evaluated on a number of measures related to clinical quality.

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What does the award mean for the organization’s clients?

The BHCOE accreditation demonstrates that the company meets the highest standards of verified clinical quality, transparency, and accountability. Collectively, BHCOE’s lead a growing movement of behavioral health providers that aim to increase the collective quality of services across the United States.

The BHCOE accreditation indicates that the company respects employees. As an employer, you know that your organization’s success starts and ends with its employees. The BHCOE accreditation demonstrates to employees that their company cares about their feedback, is able to look internally, and can set goals for continuous improvement.

The BHCOE accreditation demonstrates a company’s impact. Businesses across the US use the BHCOE Clinical Audit to benchmark their performance and set goals for continuous improvement. The clinical audit is a great tool to help your organization become a more sustainable company. Think of it as a regular check-up to see how clinically and administratively healthy you are and how you’ve improved.

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Behavioral Banter 3

By Krista Wynne,

A Behaviorist’s Blog

Richard Couch, PhD, BCBA-D
CLASS Director of Research and Staff Development

 

Welcome to another posting of Behavioral Banter, a periodic blog written to educate, entertain, and encourage those who care about services for individuals with special needs and their families.  In subsequent postings you will find a Behaviorist’s view of various topics ranging from the philosophical to the legislative, and from in-home programs to life after public education.  This blog will address concerns affecting all of us who care about the application of behavioral principals (Applied Behavior Analysis) as we strive to improve the human condition.

 

Today’s topic:  On Terms, Behavior Analysts, Behavior Analyst Assistants, and Registered Behavior Technicians

 

“The Behavior Analysis Certification Board is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation established in 1998 to meet professional credentialing needs identified by behavior analysts, governments, and consumers of behavior analysis services.  The BACB’s certification requirements, exam content, and procedures undergo regular review according to international standards for organizations that grant professional credentials.  All BACB requirements and exam content are established by content experts in the discipline” (from the BACB website https://bacb.com/).

 

The Behavior Analysis Certification Board offers several credentials.  Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification requires a graduate degree from an approved university, advanced training in behavior analysis, and a passing score on the BCBA exam along with a criminal background check.  Additionally, the Behavior Analysis Certification Board offers a doctoral designation (BCAB-D) for Board Certified Behavior Analysts with doctoral or post-doctoral training in behavior analysis.

 

The Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) is an undergraduate-level certification in behavior analysis.  BCaBAs must complete specific coursework from an approved university, pass the BACB exam for BCaBAs, and complete a criminal background check.  Professionals who are certified at the BCaBA level may not practice independently, but must be supervised by someone certified at the BCBA/BCBA-D level.  BCaBAs can supervise the work of Registered Behavior Technicians, and others who implement behavior-analytic interventions.

 

The Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) is a paraprofessional who practices under the close, ongoing supervision of a BCBA, or BCBA-D.  The RBT is primarily responsible for the direct implementation of behavior-analytic services. The RBT does not design intervention or assessment plans.  RBTs must be 18 years of age, possess a minimum of a high school diploma or national equivalent, complete 40 hours of training, complete a criminal background check, pass the RBT Competency Assessment, and pass the BACB RBT exam.

 

All Board certified credential holders adhere to the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts.  The compliance code outlines the professional and ethical requirements for all BACB applicants, certificants, registrants, approved continuing education (ACE) providers.  Each certification renewal cycle (every two years) BCBAs and BCaBAs must complete 32 approved continuing education units of which four are in ethics and three are in supervision.

 

The Center for Learning and Autism Support Services is relentless in the search for the best and the brightest of Board Certified staff and those who demonstrate such potential.  At this time CLASS has two BCBA-Ds: the Director of Clinical Operations and the Director of Research and Staff Development.  Regional Directors are licensed/certificated staff with many years of experience providing in-home services and supervision of staff that do the same.  The Clinical Supervisor staff consists of BCBAs, and those who are enrolled in or just finishing graduate programs in applied behavior analysis, in preparation to sit for the BACB exam to become BCBAs at the Director level.  All of us at CLASS continually encourage talented behavior interventionist staff to pursue a degree in a course sequence leading to the Registered Behavior Technician certification.

 

CLASS staff have come from far and wide places with varied experiences.  For example, in the Great North Bay Region (GNB) of CLASS we have a Regional Director with over 30 years of experience with a PhD in child psychology, and developmental psychology, along with a post-doctoral fellowship in special education – all specializing in applied behavior analysis.  One of the two Clinical Directors in the GNB has several years of both center-based and in-home intervention, as well as supervisorial experience.  And the other Clinical Director in the GNB was a physician who pursued behavioral training and certification before coming to CLASS!

 

Regardless of BACB certification, all CLASS staff share the goal of improving the human condition via the principles of applied behavior analysis; making a difference in the lives of our clients and their families.  Let’s make a difference where we can — that’s one [radical] behaviorist’s opinion.

 

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Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Finalist

By Krista Wynne,

NEWS RELEASE

Center for Learning and Autism Support Services, Inc.  
(800) 538-8365  
info@classaba.com  
 

 

EY announces Denise Pollard, CEO and Founder of Center for Learning and Autism Support Services, Inc., as an Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award finalist in Northern California

 

SAN FRANCISCO, May 16, 2017 – EY today announced that Denise Pollard, CEO and Founder of Center for Learning and Autism Support Services, Inc. is a finalist for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2017 Award in Northern California.  The awards program, which is celebrating its 31st year, recognizes entrepreneurs who are excelling in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.  Denise Pollard was selected as a finalist by a panel of independent judges.  Award winners will be announced at a special gala event on June 23rd at The Fairmont in San Jose, California.

 

Center for Learning and Autism Support Services, also known as CLASS, is a nationally recognized Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) provider delivering state-of-the-art ABA services, which are performed within the home, school, and/or clinic setting. We eagerly collaborate with professionals from other disciplines and disseminate data and research in order to ensure best practices and optimal outcomes for each client. We are dedicated to cultivating partnerships with other community providers to ensure continuity of services for their clients.

 

“As an undergraduate I took a lab that truly changed my life. Groundbreaking research in autism and Applied Behavior Analysis had been conducted by Dr. Ivar Lovaas. I saw how desperate families were to try to find ‘something’ that would help them understand their child. They were searching for answers. For many families, Applied Behavior Analysis was an answer for their child. This is where I got started and it was life changing. I knew that I wanted to make a difference.” – Denise Pollard, CEO and Founder of CLASS

 

The finalists are:

  1. 8×8 Inc. | Bryan Martin, Chairman and Chief Technology Officer and Vikram Verma, CEO | San Jose, California
  2. Ambarella | Fermi Wang, CEO | Santa Clara, California
  3. App Annie | Bertrand Schmitt, CEO & co-founder | San Francisco, California
  4. Big Switch Networks | Douglas Murray, Chief Executive Officer and Kyle Forster, Founder | Santa Clara, California
  5. com | René Lacerte, CEO and founder | Palo Alto, California
  6. C3 IoT | Thomas Siebel, CEO, Chairman, and Founder | Redwood City, California
  7. Center for Learning and Autism Support Services, Inc. (CLASS) | Denise Pollard, President / Chief Executive Officer | San Mateo, California
  8. CoverHound Inc. | Keith Moore, CEO & Executive Board Director | San Francisco, California
  9. CrowdStrike | George Kurtz, President and CEO | Sunnyvale, California
  10. Doximity | Jeff Tangney, CEO and Founder and Shari Buck, Co-Founder and Vice President of Product Management | San Francisco, California
  11. Financial Technology Partners | Steven McLaughlin, Founder / CEO / Managing Partner | San Francisco, California
  12. Five9 | Mike Burkland, President & CEO | San Ramon, California
  13. hint Inc. | Kara Goldin, CEO | San Francisco, California
  14. HotelTonight | Sam Shank, CEO | San Francisco, California
  15. IronPlanet | Gregory Owens, Chairman and CEO | Pleasanton, California
  16. Kateeva, Inc. | Conor Madigan, Chief Operating Officer, President & Co-Founder | Newark, California
  17. Liftoff Mobile, Inc. | Mark Ellis, CEO | Palo Alto, California
  18. Nevro Corp. | Rami Elghandour, President and CEO | Redwood City, California
  19. Opendoor | Eric Wu, Founder and CEO | San Francisco, California
  20. com | Ruzwana Bashir, CEO | San Francisco, California
  21. SST, Inc./ShotSpotter | Ralph Clark, Chief Executive Officer | Newark, California
  22. Tanium | David Hindawi, Executive Chairman & co-founder and Orion Hindawi, Chief Executive Officer & co-founder | Emeryville, California
  23. Tradeshift, inc. | Christian Lanng, CEO, chairman, and co-founder | San Francisco, California
  24. TRX FITNESS ANYWHERE LLC | Randal Hetrick, CEO/Founder | San Francisco, California

 

Now in its 31st year, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in over 145 cities and more than 60 countries throughout the world.

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration in the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs, California, November 18, 2017. The awards are the culminating event of the Strategic Growth Forum, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. The Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner moves on to compete for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in Monaco in June 2018.

 

Sponsors

Founded and produced by EY, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the US by SAP America, Merrill Corporation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In Northern California, regional Gold sponsors include SolomonEdwards; Silver sponsors include Big Picture Inc. and Chatham Financial.

 

About Entrepreneur Of The Year®
EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year® is one of the world’s most prestigious business awards programs for entrepreneurs, chosen from an independent panel of judges including entrepreneurs and prominent leaders from business, finance, and the local community. The program makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries. ey.com/eoy

 

About EY’s Growth Markets Network
EY’s worldwide Growth Markets Network is dedicated to serving the changing needs of high-growth companies. For more than 30 years, we’ve helped many of the world’s most dynamic and ambitious companies grow into market leaders. Whether working with international mid-cap companies or early stage, venture-backed businesses, our professionals draw upon their extensive experience, insight and global resources to help your business succeed. For more information, please visit us at ey.com/sgm or follow news on Twitter @EY_Growth.

 

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities. EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a member of the global EY organization that provides services to clients in the US. For more information, please visit ey.com

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PRESS RELEASE

By Tim Herbert,

The spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and kicking in Northern California— and we couldn’t be happier to be a part of all the action! Denise Pollard, Founder and CEO of Center for Learning and Autism Support Services, Inc. (CLASS), was recently announced as a semifinalist in the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Northern California Awards program.

 

As the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs, Entrepreneur Of The Year has been at the forefront of identifying game‑changing business leaders for more than three decades. The program has honored the inspirational leadership of such entrepreneurs as Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company, John Mackey of Whole Foods Market Inc., Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc., Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn Corporation and Mindy Grossman of HSN, Inc. Nominated by Emily Armenta, we’re honored to have Denise Pollard recognized among so many other notable business luminaries in Northern California.

 

Learn more about the Entrepreneur Of The Year Northern California program and follow our journey to the awards!

 

For a full list of the semifinalists, check out 2017-EOY-NorCal_Semifinalist_Release

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Behavioral Banter 2

By Tim Herbert,

A Behaviorist’s Blog
Richard Couch, PhD, BCBA-D
CLASS Director of Research and Staff Development

Welcome to another posting of Behavioral Banter, a periodic blog written to educate, entertain, and encourage those who care about services for individuals with special needs and their families.  In subsequent postings you will find a Behaviorist’s view of various topics ranging from the philosophical to the legislative, and from in-home programs to life after public education.  This blog will address concerns affecting all of us who care about the application of behavioral principals (Applied Behavior Analysis) as we strive to improve the human condition for all.

Today’s topic:  The importance of a verbal community for language development.

That some form of language impairment is associated with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is all too often commonly expected is tragically ubiquitous.  Indeed, in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) the standardized criteria to help diagnose ASD include persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts.  Specifically:

Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to abnormalities in eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.

Similarly, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9-CM) delineates:

A disorder characterized by marked impairments in social interaction and communication accompanied by a pattern of repetitive, stereotyped behaviors and activities.

Since Behavior Analysts focus on environmental conditions in a client’s life to provide therapy, it comes as no surprise that we are interested in the “verbal community” in which a client resides.  This is true for all children whether they have been diagnosed with ASD or are neurologically typical youngsters.  Regardless of diagnosis — or the absence of one — Behavior Analysts strive to increase the opportunities for learners to hear and use as many words as possible.  The greater the opportunities, the greater the number of times a child can use (or attempt) words, and the greater the number of (hopefully positive) consequences that follow.

By way of example, look at the basketball skill of shooting free throws.  A coach wanting to develop better free throw shooting in a team’s players could have them read books on the topic, or watch videos of other players making free throws, or lecture them on the best way to perform the skill.   None of these tactics however, would be nearly as effective as simply having players stand on the free throw line and practice, practice, practice; practice alone with no distractions, practice with team mates encouragement and cheers, practice in a hostile environment with abundant distractions, practice rested, and practice exhausted.  You get the idea.

Returning to language development, in the 1980s Betty Hart and Todd Risley from the University of Kansas analyzed massive amounts of longitudinal data from observations in the homes of a variety of families in the Kansas City, Kansas area.  Without going into the details of the enormous undertaking, the research team made some profound discoveries.  To wit:

The mean number of words heard each day by 11 – 18 month-old children was 325, but the range was 56 to 793!  This discrepancy was consistent throughout the children’s formative years.  Indeed, from 29 to 36 months the range was from 34 to 783 – practically the same as the prior years.

Now extrapolating this finding to the bigger picture:  In a 14 hour waking day, 50 words per hour equals 700 per day.  Conversely, a child who hears 750 words per hour would experience about 10,000 words per day.  Now multiply this by 365 days in a year and the difference becomes 250,000 versus 4,000,000!  Returning briefly to the free throw shooter, who would you want taking the game winning free throw shot?  The player who practiced some, or the player who practice some 16 times more?

The choice is obvious.  Engaging children in a rich verbal community by speaking to, and eliciting from them as much language (or attempts) as possible is essential to the therapeutic process.  The difference is crucial.

Let’s make a difference where we can — that’s one behaviorist’s opinion.

Behavioral Banter

By Tim Herbert,

A Behaviorist’s Blog
Richard Couch, PhD, BCBA-D
CLASS North Bay Regional Director

Welcome to the first posting of Behavioral Banter, a periodic blog written to educate, entertain, and encourage those who care about services for individuals with special needs and their families. In subsequent postings you will find a Behaviorist’s view of various topics ranging from the philosophical to the legislative, and from in-home programs to life after public education. This blog will address concerns affecting all of us who care about the application of behavioral principals (Applied Behavior Analysis) as we strive to improve the human condition for all.

Today’s topic: Is Autistic Spectrum Disorder an epidemic?

In the 1940’s Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger published Autistic psychopaths in childhood. Soon after Leo Kanner published Autistic disturbances of affective contact, and his seminal work, Early infantile autism 1943–1955. During this time what we now know as Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was considered very rare and mysterious. In the 1970’s however, the estimated incidence was considered approximately one in 2,000, and more recently this figure is one in 68. The California Department of Education reports the number of students diagnosed with ASD in public schools has increased from about 14,00 in the year 2000, to nearly 100,00 last year – seven times greater! Ostensibly something is happening.

During this time the revisions of the DSM criteria for ASD has changed in conjunction with more public awareness and new regulations mandating third-party payment of ASD therapy. Might the spotlight on ASD in conjunction with insurance benefits result in an increase in diagnosis? An extremely large Swedish study in 2015 examined over one million children from 1993 to 2002. The incidence of ASD increased from one in 435 to one in 200. It should be noted however, that the incidence of people with autistic symptoms remained constant at a little less than one in a hundred. Lead researcher Christopher Gillberg states, “. . . our findings indicate the only thing that has increased is people’s views of autism . . .” “In many countries, autism is the most talked about and accepted of all developmental disorders, and getting the diagnosis means getting access to good services. . . “.

Let’s compare, for a moment, the incidence of ASD with another health concern of epidemic proportions – senile dementia. Each day in this country a little under 11,000 (10,829) children are born. If one in 66 children is diagnosed with ASD, then over 160 per day or nearly 7 per hour will be diagnosed with ASD in the United States. Now the “greying of America” phenomenon has 10,000 seniors turning 65 each day in America. The medical community estimates the rate of some form of senile dementia as about one in ten. Hence, 1,000 seniors per day — over 40 per hour – will develop some form of dementia– seven times greater than ASD!

So which is it? Is ASD really an increasing epidemic, or is this phenomenon the result of new criteria, social services, public acceptance, and regulation? Time will tell, but this we do know: epidemic or not, children diagnosed with ASD and their families do not have the luxury of hypothesizing on such matters – they are too busy trying to get from one day to the next.

Increasing prevalence or not, we need to maintain an optimistic perspective. Consider the following quote from no less than Winston Churchill: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

Let’s make a difference where we can — that’s one behaviorist’s opinion.