As the clinical landscape in human services and special education continues to evolve, thought leaders and clinicians at Aspire are sharing their applied research with other practitioners to support the growth of best practices in the field.  

Michelle Levine-Schmitt, School Psychologist, co-authored “Advancing Autism Technology” a paper published this fall in the journal Psychology in the Schools. The work was completed as part of her graduate studies at the University of Connecticut and identified technological advances in supports and evaluation for individuals on the autism spectrum. Levine-Schmitt is currently engaged in a research project at Aspire examining the effect of relaxation and guided imagery in reducing behavioral challenges in the school setting. 

Placing a high priority on staff development and innovation in order to stay current with new and effective treatments, educational techniques, and service delivery models, Aspire encourages all employees to get involved and strive to make a positive impact every day. 

According to Liz Sellinger, Chief of Children’s Services, “When we go to conferences, we see that we are doing work that is as good or better as others. We need to be sharing our work…We actually closed the school for two days this year, so that people can attend and present at the BABAT conference and collaborate with others.” 

The annual BABAT conference provides an opportunity for behavior analysts and leaders throughout the country to hear and share their own cutting-edge research, recommendations for practice, and updates on professional issues. Two Aspire posters and four workshops were presented at the conference this year.  

Sherry Lynn MacNeil and Liz Sellinger presented the poster Another Lens:  Agency Clinical Leaders Focus on Performance Management. Alexandra Dileo, Christina Nieves, Libby Revis and Molly Yordon presented the poster Application of Skill-Based Treatment to Improving Cooperation and Vocal Language in the Private School Setting.  

The four workshops provided professional development for behavior analysts in several different areas. 

Catherine Tranquillo, Emily Ferens and Krystal Jackson presented Read the Fine Print: You Can Design and Implement an Individualized Behavior Contract. Participants explored procedures for creating a unique behavior contract for each person, including appropriate target behaviors and reinforcement, customized layout using individual preferences, and negotiation strategies. 

Catherine Tranquillo, Lisa Dobey, Sherry Lynn MacNeil and Kathryn Cyr presented Restraint as the Last Resort, NOT the Last Step: Debriefing with Staff and Students. They discussed their experiences surrounding the development and implementation of a debriefing process for students and staff who have been involved in restraints because of aggressive or self-injurious behaviors.   

Catherine Tranquillo, Victoria Gomez, Stephanie Jacovino and Kimberly Berrios presented Investing in the Future: A Multiple-Supervisor BCBA Supervision Model. Participants were shown a comprehensive supervision package that meets BACB requirements and includes initiating new trainees, tools to monitor trainee progress and analyze trainee understanding and growth.  

Danielle Adams and Taylor Knouse presented Not Gestalt a Bunch of Hocus Pocus: A Collaborative Approach to Treat Delayed Echolalia. Participants learned about different types of language acquisition and about working collaboratively with a speech-language pathologist to develop and implement both behavioral and language-based strategies. 

These projects are rooted in Aspire’s commitment to integrating evidence-based and person-centered practices across the corporation. 

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Aspire Thought Leaders Share Clinical Findings and Research