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!
Letter from the Director
Dr. Rebecca Eldridge, BCBA-D
Welcome to the Kalamazoo Autism Center, informally known as the KAC. 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. Originally founded by Dr. Richard Malott, the KAC was established to fill the need for center-based behavior analytic therapy for children with autism and other developmental disabilities in the Kalamazoo area. It began as a low-cost service offered by Dr. Malott’s graduate and undergraduate students, and with the recent passing of insurance legislation for ABA (applied behavior analysis) treatment, has blossomed into an insurance covered medical practice for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In September of 2016, the KAC moved into it’s new facility complete with 10 individual treatment rooms, 2 group instruction rooms, 2 playrooms, a teaching kitchen, and a laundry room. The facility is also equipped with an assessment room complete with an attached observation room. We offer a variety of services, including training in basic learner skills, social skills, daily living skills, communication skills, play skills, independent toileting skills, and severe behavior services to name a few. At the KAC, we strive to fulfill Dr. Malott’s original dream of creating a center for children and families to access effective ABA treatment, a training center for students who will become tomorrow’s ABA practitioners, and a community leader for autism treatment and research.
As a part of Western Michigan University’s Department of Psychology, the KAC strives to maintain a triad of service, research, and teaching in everything we do. Our first and foremost goal is to provide the most effective and efficient treatments to our clients. Through those individually designed treatments, we are regularly discovering innovations in ABA technology that can and should be disseminated to the practice community through scientific conferences and peer reviewed journal publications. Teaching the science and application of ABA is an integral part of all operations whether it means training a new behavior technician, teaching a master’s student who seeking a BCBA credential, or consulting with parents to get the best outcomes for their children. WMU’s Department of Psychology is a world leader as one of the oldest and largest programs in behavior analysis. The KAC also hopes to become a world leader in service, training, and research in the field of applied behavior analysis through our core values of transparent evidence-based practice, client-centered approach, teamwork with integrity and cooperation, and community involvement.
Thanks for stopping by and we look forward to meeting you in person! If you are in the Kalamazoo area and would like to plan a visit to the center, feel free to call or email to schedule a tour or meeting.
Dr. Rebecca Eldridge, BCBA-D
Clinical Director, Kalamazoo Autism Center
Department of Psychology
Western Michigan University
- What are your hours?
- KAC is open from 8am - 6pm, Monday through Friday.
- Do I need a referral if I would like my child to receive services at the Kalamazoo Autism Center?
- 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.
- How much does it cost to have my child go to the center?
- Costs will vary. We accept private pay, Medicaid, and insurance. Please call if you require any assistance with navigating the insurance and/or diagnostic process.
- How old does my child have to be to attend the center?
- Currently insurance funds individuals through age 18 and Medicaid can fund through age 21.
- If my child attends the KAC, how will our information be used?
- You can find a copy of our Notice of Privacy Practices here
- What supplies do I need to purchase supplies for my child?
- We ask that parents provide some of your child's most preferred items, such as toys, snacks, and movies.
- Do you provide services other than ABA?
- 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.
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 & Group 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.
Severe Behavior Services
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