Where Students Learn to Love Learning!
by Karen Wagner, PhD, MA, BA, Behavior Education Center
A daunting aspect of parenting a child who cannot seem to learn like other children, or who engages in challenging behavior, is the cost to parents: lost time at work, lost career opportunities, and the stress placed on the family. This is particularly difficult when many of the problems are occurring at school. Public schools operate on a tight budget; obtaining the appropriate supports seems overwhelming. Even private Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services in school has limitations, as the clinicians are required to follow rules set by the county and the school principals, including those for aggressive and destructive behavior, which are not always aligned with the clinical needs of the child. That is why we are here.
Behavior Services of Brevard, founded by Dr. Karen Wagner, has been providing Applied Behavior Analysis services in Brevard County since 1997. Currently, ABA services are provided in our school program, the Behavior Education Center (BEC). Serving children from the age of two to 21, our students are often referred because they are failing to learn in their current placement and/or their behavior has limited their ability to participate in their previous school or day care placement.
BEC provides a learning environment that is far more focused on ABA interventions than most schools. Our goal is to teach our students the skills necessary to succeed in more academically oriented school settings, because attending school with their siblings and neighbors is often easier to manage for most families, provides a level of social interaction that is more like the student’s siblings and peers, and offers access to extracurricular activities not available in a small school setting. Our program is not a permanent placement, but a skill-building alternative that allows students to maximize their skills, sometimes over several years, before taking their place in a more mainstream school. Students who experience success academically, socially, and with personal skills, often do not need to engage in challenging behavior and they become excited about learning.
Reducing challenging behaviors is important to the student’s progress towards a more mainstream placement, but so are proactive behaviors to increase social skills, cooperative learning and problem-solving while de-stigmatizing asking for help; we want to teach our students to take an active role in their own learning. Because of frequent challenging behavior in previous settings, as well as missed time for doctor and various therapy appointments, many of our students are several grades below their same-age peers. To that end, we utilize Direct Instruction (www.NIFDI.org) as our principal method of instruction. It is the most effective method of teaching; with frequent skill testing that requires each set of skills be mastered before moving on to the next. In addition, we use Pearson curricula to extend lessons and provide additional practice.
Programs at BEC are year-round. We accept McKay and Gardiner Scholarships, and ABA is funded through the child’s insurance, private payment or Medicaid. Please contact us to arrange a tour.
Behavior Education Center is located at 550 Solutions Way, Rockledge, FL 32955. Contact us at 321-639-9800 or visit www.BehaviorEducationCenter.org.
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