Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientific, problem-solving approach designed to produce socially-significant outcomes. In other words, Behavior Analysts aim to improve quality of life for individuals, families, and communities using the science of behavior change. The application of ABA is not limited to individuals with Autism, however over 60 years of research supports its effectiveness in meeting the complex needs of this population.
Who can benefit from ABA? Any person who…
- has difficulty carrying on a conversation
- has limited daily living skills (dressing, eating, toileting)
- exhibits moderate problem behaviors (screaming, non-compliance)
- exhibits severe problem behaviors (aggression, self-injury, property destruction)
- has little or no language skills
- engages in self stimulatory behavior (flapping, rocking, scripting television shows)
- needs extra help in academic skills
- has limited social skills (lack of interest in peers, trouble making friends)
Achieve Beyond’s ABA Programs include:
- Team consisting of Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and highly trained Behavior Therapist (BT)
- Quality Assurance mechanisms in place
- Verbal Behavior approach to language
- Comprehensive Assessment using criterion-referenced tests (ABLLS-R, VB-MAPP & AFLS)
- Parent Training/Team meetings
- Errorless teaching procedures to minimize frustration
- Therapists capture motivation
- Functional Assessment to determine why problem behaviors occur
- Functional Communication Training to replace problem behaviors with appropriate behavior
- Social skills curriculum
- Natural Environment Teaching (NET)
- Individualized, data-driven treatment plans
Meet Our ABA Clinical Director
Tara Karen, M.S. Ed, BCBA, LBA, Northeastern ABA Clinical Director - Tara Karen is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has worked in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis and Special Education since 2009. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from SUNY Stony Brook, a Master’s degree in Childhood education from Dowling College and completed her BCBA coursework at SUNY Stony Brook. Tara is a New York State certified teacher in Students with Disabilities Grades 1-6. Before working at Achieve Beyond, Tara worked as a teacher and reading aide in elementary schools, a SEIT teacher for physically and developmentally disabled teenagers, a tutor, and most recently she was a teacher and ABA instructor at a non-profit school for individuals with autism. Since coming to Achieve Beyond, Tara has worked to conduct assessments, create programming, train behavior therapists, evaluate school and home-programs, and supervise BCBA candidates and behavior therapists. She enjoys employing a hands-on method of teaching and using the natural environment to enhance social skills and generalization.
Cristina Vega, M.S., BCBA, California ABA Clinical Director - Cristina Vega is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and the Clinical Director of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services at Achieve Beyond in Whittier California. Since 2003 she has worked in the Greater Los Angeles area providing behavior therapy services to a wide variety of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, including children, adolescence, teens, and adults. Cristina studied ABA at California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) where she attained a Master of Science degree in Counseling Applied Behavior Analysis in 2010. Along with a Master’s degree in ABA, Cristina received a certificate in Autism from CSULA and over her career has concentrated her focus on working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She has extensive experience in conducting functional behavior assessments and standardized skill assessments, designing and writing behavior intervention and individualized skill acquisition plans, and providing direct support, supervision and consultation for in-home and clinic-based ABA programs. She has worked on early intensive programs for children as young as 18 months, has organized social skills groups and community integration programs for children, teens, and young adults. Additionally, Cristina has provided consultation in public and private school districts for education professionals and has developed and conducted ABA training and resources for parents and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT). Cristina joined Achieve Beyond in January 2015. As the ABA Clinical Director, Cristina provides day-to-day clinical leadership and support related to the quality and development of the ABA program and actively disseminates information about ABA therapy to the community by attending local events and presenting to community members such as parents, professionals, and qualified health care providers.
Gina M. Ballone, MS, BCBA, LBA, Virginia & Maryland ABA Clinical Director - Gina Ballone has been working in the field of ABA since 1998. She first gained experience in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder during her undergraduate studies at Florida State University. Upon completion of her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she decided to pursue her Master’s degree in Psychology and Applied Behavior Analysis, having the privilege of learning under Dr. Jon Bailey and Dr. Al Murphy. During her graduate studies she co-founded an organization that provided ABA services to children, which is currently a practicum and assistantship opportunity for graduate students at FSU. After completion of her graduate degree in 2002, Gina was offered a position at Behavior Analysis Inc, a leading ABA company in South Florida. During her work there, she supervised a team of behavior therapists, as well as developed verbal behavior programs, precision teaching, and behavior reduction programs. She conducted parent trainings/workshops and presented at state conferences. The company appointed her to be the Behavior Analyst to consult at the Miami Children’s Hospital, Dan Marino Center. She oversaw all ABA programs as well as conducted consultations to non-behavioral staff. In doing this, she had the opportunity to consult with Speech, Occupational and Physical therapists as well as provide training at the Dan Marino Summer Camps. Gina has attended numerous workshops in Verbal Behavior, as well as advanced consultation workshops at the Carbone Clinic. She has presented at FABA (Florida Association for Behavior Analysis) as well as other conferences throughout the years. She was the Clinical Director of an ABA therapy clinic in Destin, Florida for 8 ½ years, where she also served as the practicum supervisor for the graduate students in the FSU-PC Master’s ABA program. Gina became the Clinical Director of ABA Services at Achieve Beyond in the Virginia/DC Metro in 2012. She is passionate about using Skinner’s Analysis of Verbal Behavior to teach language and communication skills to individuals.
Rebecca Womack, MS, BCBA, LBA, Texas ABA Clinical Director - Since graduating from my masters program at North Dakota State University, Rebecca Womack has been privileged to serve adults and children in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) in a variety of capacities. From facility based care, to working group homes, day centers, schools, and homes of families, her passion includes not only implementing evidence based therapy, but making a significant and meaningful impact through the science of Behavior Analysis. Additional experiences including administrative work, advocacy, supervision activities, presentations, and domestic and international consulting. All have allowed her to acquire various perspectives on effective service delivery. Common motivators throughout her career have included her desire to never be stagnant with learning, to always challenge her skill set, and improve however possible.