Mission: The Kalamazoo Autism Center aims to improve the lives of individuals with autism and their families by providing evidence-based, individualized treatment and therapy to advance meaningful community engagement.
Western Michigan University’s Kalamazoo Autism Center collaborates with the Department of Psychology to provide therapeutic services to children and young adults, ages 2-21. We are located at 4200 S Westnedge Ave in Kalamazoo, Michigan and accept Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Blue Care Network, Aetna, Medicaid, and private pay.
We provide Applied Behavior Analytic (ABA) services in the following areas:
- Pre-academic (learning-to-learn) skills
- Communication skills
- Group skills
- Play skills
- Daily living skills
- Social skills
- Vocational skills
- Parent training
- Severe behavior services
- And more!
The KAC is housed within the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University, so a vast majority of our Behavior Technicians (BTs; those who work 1:1 with your child) are also attending school to learn about behavior analysis or a related field (e.g., Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy, etc.). Many of our BTs are at the KAC to further develop their skills in preparation for a career in healthcare and public service. We consider ourselves lucky, as this close connection with WMU ensures that Behavior Technicians come to the center with prior knowledge of behavior analysis and how it can be used to support individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. Because this position is similar to their chosen career path, KAC BTs are very invested in the progress of their clients and learning best practice for ensuring quality clinical treatment.
In addition, the KAC serves as a practicum site for students in the Behavior Analysis graduate program at WMU. These students spend part of their time providing 1:1 treatment to our clients, but are also studying with one of the KAC’s Clinical Supervisors (Board Certified Behavior Analysts; BCBAs) so that they can serve in this same role once they have graduated. Not only does this provide an additional level of daily support to our Behavior Technicians, but it also serves to increase the number of BCBAs available to serve a currently underserved population. The KAC sees itself as an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to addressing the ongoing needs of our population, both within the state and nationwide.
KAC is open from 8am – 6pm, Monday through Friday. We serve clients between the hours of 9am – 6pm.
Yes! At the KAC, we believe that all of our children are unique, as is their need for supports. We understand and respect that families wish to access other treatment options (e.g., Speech, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, etc.) and we encourage you to seek appropriate and evidence-based treatments. We also do not believe that ABA is “One Size Fits All” so we will never make hour recommendations prior to conducting a formal assessment and we will work with you to find the right balance for your family.
Formal referrals are not necessary. However, prerequisite steps vary by funding source (private insurance, Medicaid, etc.). In order to help families, we’ve provided a brief overview of diagnostic requirements on our website and are happy to assist if you need further information. Please feel free to give us a call.
Our staff are trained in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Therefore, we provide only ABA services and do not provide other services, such as speech and occupational therapy at this time.
Costs will vary. We accept private pay, Medicaid, and commercial insurance. Please call if you require any assistance with navigating the insurance and/or diagnostic process.
Currently insurance funds individuals through age 18 and Medicaid can fund through age 21. Blue Cross and Blue Shield have recently removed age restrictions on applied behavior analysis for individuals with autism.
We ask that parents provide some of your child’s most preferred items, such as toys, snacks, and movies.
After a diagnosis has been completed, an assessment must be completed to determine your child’s level of need for ABA services. This assessment can be completed at the Kalamazoo Autism Center. We have a variety of assessment tools that we may use, depending on your child’s skill level. Based on the results of the assessment, we will make a recommendation for the number of hours of ABA a client should receive and send that recommendation to Medicaid or your insurance company. They will then make the final determination of the number of hours that they will fund.
Early intervention services are typically for children between the ages of 2 and 6 years old, and services typically range between 20 and 40 hours a week. Research has shown that early and more intensive intervention results in the best outcomes, so we highly recommend enrolling your child in as many hours of ABA as you are approved, as early as possible.
Typical early intervention services are delivered in a one-on-one format. Your child will be assigned a Clinical Supervisor, who is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. The Clinical Supervisor will be responsible for the development your child’s programming and tracking their progress. Behavior Technicians will work one-on-one with your child under the supervision of the Clinical Supervisor, implementing their programming and taking data as they go.
In early intervention, pre-academic and communication skills are the major focus. An early intervention program may also focus on skills like self-help skills, play skills, social skills, and group skills.
After a child is school age, the amount of services is often reduced to about 10-20 hours per week (but not always). When a child becomes school-aged, treatment may still focus on many of the early intervention skills, depending on the child’s needs. At this time, we will also focus more intensively on self-help and other independence skills.
As the child gets older, we may also start to focus on skills in the community and vocational skills.
Social and group skills are other important areas of focus for individuals with autism. Social skills training may occur in a one-on-one or a group setting. Often, skills are trained in a one-on-one setting, and then opportunities to practice those skills are delivered in a group setting.
Another service that we offer is toilet training. Using the principles of ABA, we are often successful in training individuals with autism to use the bathroom independently.
A key component to any good ABA program is parent involvement. We encourage parents to be involved with all therapy and programming decisions. We will meet with parents on a regular basis to discuss your child’s progress and discuss future goals and placement. In addition, parent goals will be developed and our staff will provide you with training on our protocols and procedures.
The goal of any good ABA program is to provide clients with enough skills so that fewer and fewer supports are necessary. As this happens, we will help plan and facilitate our clients’ transitions to other settings, as is appropriate for each individual client.
The severe behavior services are for individuals who engage in behaviors that make it difficult for them and their families to participate in functional activities. Individuals that are referred to our severe behavior services clinic usually have a long history of severe problem behavior that interfere with their home and school activities. The severe behavior services clinic consists of a team of board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) that specialize in the assessment and treatment of problem behavior. The main focus of our severe behavior services is to decrease the behaviors that are interfering with an individual’s daily life and teach alternative replacement behaviors. Individuals referred to these services either get intensive services where they are required to attend 10 to 20 hours a week or get less intensive services where they are required to attend 4 to 8 hours a week. Despite these recommendations, the level of treatment is individualized for every client to fit their level of need.
The KAC is now hiring part-time Behavior Technicians!
Behavior Technicians are responsible for providing behavior analytic interventions to individuals with autism spectrum disorders or other populations with developmental disabilities or behavior problems.
- High school diploma or equivalent
- At least 10 hours a week of availability
- Able to pass background check
- Reliable transportation (we’re very close to a bus stop!)
- Some coursework in behavior analytic concepts and principles
- Certification as a Registered Behavior Technician
- Some experience providing behavior analytic intervention to individuals with autism spectrum disorders or other populations with developmental disabilities or behavior problems.
- Let Me Hear Your Voice by Catherine Maurice
- The Verbal Behavior Approach by Mary Lynch Barbera
- The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child by Alan Kazdin
- Effective Programs for Treating Autism Spectrum Disorder: Applied Behavior Analysis Models by Betty and Randy Williams