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Pictured from left to right are Practice President Behavioral Health Support Jeff Krepps; Behavior Services Manager Rachel Miller, LBA, BCBA; Area Director Eliza Lipp, LCSW; Associate Director Marchet Fullum; Chief Operating Officer Home Care Services Linda Siessel; and Minister Kumu Kekoa.

A life-size wall made of giant Legos provided the perfect backdrop during a ceremony to mark the grand opening of BAYADA’s Center-Based Services program on Oahu. The celebration follows the successful launch of center-based services on Maui in 2017. BAYADA Home Care is a nonprofit organization that provides behavioral health services throughout Hawai’i

The Lego wall is a signature feature of the center, along with brightly colored floor mats, a crash pad, a climbing structure, bean bag chairs, crayons, puzzles, books, balls, and blocks. It’s all used as part of an evidence-based approach called applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy to treat individuals with an autism spectrum disorder and related learning or social disorders.

ABA therapy addresses social, communication, behavioral, and self-help skills. In 2015, Hawai’i passed a law requiring state-regulated insurance plans to cover ABA therapy. This law played a significant role in the opening of the new center, bringing much-needed support to Oahu residents who need these services

“During the grand opening, we welcomed Minister Kumu Kekoa, who led a traditional Hawaiian blessing that so eloquently captured the spirit of Aloha,” said BAYADA Area Director Eliza Lipp. “We also placed a green maile Lei over the doors and welcome sign as a symbol of respect, peace, friendship, and love."

In addition, United States Representative Tulsi Gabbard marked the occasion by sending an official proclamation thanking BAYADA for expanding support and treatment to Hawai’i community members with autism and developmental disabilities.

BAYADA ABA services on Maui and Oahu earned Behavioral Health Center for Excellence (BHCOE) preliminary Accreditation for ABA services. BHCOE is an international accrediting body created to meet accreditation needs specific to the delivery of behavior analysis. Programs that earn BHCOE accreditation meet the highest standards of verified clinical quality, transparency, and accountability. As a next step, BAYADA is seeking full accreditation, which involves a rigorous evaluation that includes site visits, file reviews, and client interviews.

“The new center is designed to complement one-on-one home-based ABA services provided by behavioral health technicians,” said Lipp. “In the center, children have the unique opportunity to build skills and interact with others in a fun, welcoming environment. In addition, the center offers a structured setting designed for ABA treatment, and increased oversight by a BAYADA Board Certified and Licensed Behavior Analyst®.”

Depending on the age and ability of each individual, the earliest portions of ABA services focus on basic verbal and non-verbal communication as tools for learning readiness, including increasing and improving:

  • Communication
  • Participation in daily activities
  • Eye contact
  • Play skills
  • Social engagement

To learn more about services for individuals with an ASD in Hawaii, call BAYADA at 808-486-1804 or visit our website >>

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