ABA at Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin

Here at Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin we are moving toward adding Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to our list of services so that we can give children with Autism the best outcomes. Our first objective was to hire the right person to serve as Autism Services Manager and organize the program. We found that person in Paul Messling, and I’m pleased to introduce him as a guest blogger today. Paul’s thoughts reflect his obvious enthusiasm and passion for services to children with Autism.

ABA at Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin
by Paul Messling

Several months ago I received a forwarded email from my former graduate school advisor at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. He thought a job opening at Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin might be right up my alley. After reading the posting for Autism Services Manager, I printed it out and left it for my wife to read. Her response, scrawled in bold letters across the top of the page, was WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Not being one to argue, my resume went out shortly after that.

Upon reflection, I guess I had already been waiting over eight years for this opportunity. After completing my undergraduate degree in psychology, I finally found direction in 2001 when I began working for a local autism services provider. After receiving a Masters Degree in behavior analysis, I got my Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credentials in 2005.

The minute I arrived for my interview at Easter Seals Southeast Wisconsin I really felt the kind of pioneering spirit I was looking for. The opportunity to build a new program based upon Easter Seals longstanding tradition of community service left me in awe.

So where does this leave us now? Fortunately in Wisconsin we have a state-funded program that provides some resources for autism treatment. Marketing strategies and materials are being developed, referral sources are being sought out, grants ideas are being developed for teaching materials, and we are preparing to hire our first therapists in the near future. Once that occurs our program will focus on the Verbal Behavior Approach to ABA and errorless teaching with a special emphasis on therapist and caregiver training using video feedback.

I am very grateful to have this opportunity with Easter Seals. In a brief period I’ve already seen this organization’s unwavering commitment to helping individuals with disabilities. I look forward to translating that sentiment into services for children on the autism spectrum in Wisconsin, so each family we meet leaves better for the experience.


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