CENTER-BASED AUTISM SERVICE
Accelerate ABA offers services for local children diagnosed with autism
HALFMOON, N.Y. >> Centerbased Applied Behavior Analysis services will soon be available in Saratoga County with the opening of Accelerate ABA.
Located at 7 Corporate Drive in Halfmoon, Accelerate ABA is set to open to the public next month. The new company will then begin offering services for local children ages two to 12 who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
While Accelerate ABA is one of the first ABA facilities in the Capital Region, it is becoming more and more popular around the country as resources for children with autism.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to understanding behavior. ABA focuses on the principles of how learning takes place and uses this understanding to teach meaningful skills, such as communication, play, social interaction and activities of daily living.
When working with children with autism, an understanding of the principles of learning can be applied systematically through interventions to help individuals learn and apply new skills.
“We use Applied Behavior Analysis to teach children how to communicate, how to increase their independence, how to socialize — and really anything that helps them to get up to their typically developing peers’ level,” Accelerate ABA co-founder Haley McDougall explained, noting that the company takes data to make sure their services are making a meaningful impact on each child.
Kids ages two to five will have the opportunity to attend Accelerate ABA’s Developmental Play Group, along with one on one instruction sessions. This age group will participate in researched based services, including individual and group teaching, as well as family participation and support. Children will work on skills such as communication, social skills, play and leisure skills, pre-academic skills, self-care, and kindergarten readiness.
These half-day services can act as an intensive daycare or preschool alternative.
The Elementary Social Skills Group services, for children ages five to 12, will follow an evidencebased model for teaching
"We use Applied Behavior Analysis to teach children how to communicate, how to increase their independence, how to socialize — and really anything that helps them to get up to their typically developing peers’ level.”
— Accelerate ABA co-founder Haley McDougall
social skills in a group setting. Children will work on skills such as initiating and maintaining a conversation, starting, joining and maintaining pretend play, reading social cues, sharing and perspective-taking.
These services will be offered on an after school basis, and families have the option to choose which days their child attends.
All services will take place at Accelerate ABA’s brand-new clinic space and follow a block schedule.
An open house event is expected to be held in early December. Families will then have the opportunity to see the space and meet with Accelerate ABA co-owners McDougall and Carolyn Volpe.
McDougall and Volpe, who will be running all of the programs at the new center, are both New York state-licensed, board-certified behavior analysts with experience in the field.
A Saratoga Springs native, McDougall is a graduate of Saratoga Springs High School and Skidmore College, where she took her first applied behavior analysis course and fell in love with the field.
Inspired by this class, McDougall went on to pursue her master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Northeastern University in Boston.
During this time, Volpe supervised McDougall while she worked as a registered behavior technician locally.
“Carolyn supervised me weekly and helped prepare me for my national board exam,” McDougall shared. “We talked about how limited services were in this area for children with autism and how desperate families were to find quality care for their children.”
Compared to the thousands of services helping children with autism in other areas, the founders felt that Applied Behavior Analysis was much-needed in the Capital Region.
After a few years of brainstorming, McDougall and Volpe officially started planning their company last fall. “It started as a dream and now it’s actually happening,” McDougall said.
“We wanted to offer center-based services for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder ages two to 12,” she continued. “A major component of the autism diagnosis is difficulty with social skills. Having a center-based model allows us to work on social skills in an in-depth manner along with many other skills.”
Today, McDougall and Volpe are now business partners, and both looking forward to the launch of Accelerate ABA, which they hope will help children and families from throughout the region.
“I am eager and excited to work alongside Haley and provide center-based ABA services for children with autism in the Capital Region,” said Volpe, who lives in Albany County.
Looking ahead to the future of Accelerate ABA, “We’re hoping to grow, hire more staff, expand our services and then eventually open up another office in an area that’s convenient for everybody as well,” McDougall said.
Accelerate ABA is currently offering assessments for children, prior to the center’s opening in December.
For many families, the cost of Accelerate ABA’s services could be covered by their health insurance plan.
More information about Accelerate ABA is available online at accelerateaba.com and www.facebook.com/accelerateABAtherapy, where details about the upcoming open house will be posted.
Those interested in Accelerate ABA’s services are encouraged to visit the “Getting Started” tab on the company’s website and fill out the online form.
The center can be contacted by calling 518212-7559 or emailing [email protected]celerateaba.com.