Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) science is evidence-based and produces meaningful progress with many students with Autism. Scientific research and studies consistently demonstrate the high degree of success ABA methods have in improving the academic and behavioral outcomes of students with autism. Evidence shows that ABA programs delivered to students with autism with rigor and fidelity results in significant academic gains and less restrictive educational placements. Additionally, there is a demand from Early Intervention families entering the District for increased ABA services to match those they were receiving in Early Intervention.
The Office of Specialized Services (OSS) will utilize the ABA Services Grant to provide intensive professional development on ABA programs and methods to teachers and support staff of students with autism. To implement the grant, the District will identify five or more high-need kindergarten through 12th-grade autistic support (AS) classrooms with students who would benefit from ABA instruction. The schools will be selected based on geographic need and location of existing programs with a keen focus on equity and access across networks.
OSS will use grant funds to purchase the services of licensed and certified ABA professionals, including Board Certified Behavioral Analysts (BCBAs), ABA coaches and ABA therapist, to deliver intensive ABA professional development and coaching to the teachers and staff of the five identified AS classrooms. As a grant requirement, professionals delivering training and coaching to District staff will work in close collaboration with and receive support from BSE PaTTAN ABA experts. OSS will set aside grant funds to provide special training to parents of students with autism to help ensure the continued use of ABA strategies at home after school. Grant funds will also support the transition of children with autism in early intervention programs to District kindergarten and first-grade classrooms.
In addition to accepting the ABA Services Grant from PDE, authorization from the Board of Education is requested to use grant funds to contract with Progressus Therapy, LLC and other qualified vendors approved by PDE and the Deputy Chief of OSS for the provision of ABA trainers and coaches, and other ABA professional development support services. The District has worked with Progressus and other qualified vendors approved by PDE for these services since 2016 and has seen consistent and reliable support staff with low turnover able to fill the roles of the positions. When the District is unable to staff these positions, Progressus and other qualified vendors approved by PDE provides qualified candidates in a reasonable time frame, they are open to professional development and have worked in strong collaboration with the District in meeting the needs of students.
Contract Compensation shall be determined based on the contractors the District selects and the contracted services required for this program.