Daemen University’s Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program recently presented Oishei Children’s Hospital its 2022 Community Partner Award – an annual recognition given to a local agency that has worked with the university to provide hands-on experience to ABA students.
The hospital was selected for the recognition after its collaboration with Daemen last spring to offer the course “Clinical Experience in Applied Behavior Analysis,” where ABA students helped run a clinic at the hospital’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Center.
This pilot course was designed by both Kellie Kotwicki, assistant professor and practicum director, and Vanessa Patrone, assistant professor of Daemen’s ABA program in the Department of Behavioral Science.
“Oishei reached out to Daemen for help as there is a need for ABA programs in the community,” explained Kotwicki. “We developed a clinic with the help of our students who participated in assessment, patient intervention, parenting education and more.
Kotwicki added, “They provided access to their facilities and patients, while we brought the students and expertise.”
The main goals of the clinic were to teach students practical skills and make ABA accessible to patients – many of whom were on waitlists without insurance coverage.
Michelle Hartley-McAndrew, medical director of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Center at Oishei Children’s Hospital, worked with Daemen ABA faculty on the collaboration.
“She (Hartley-McAndrew) recognized the expertise of our faculty and knew we could fill a gap at their facility,” said Kotwicki. “She allowed our students to have this valuable experience working in an outpatient clinical setting for types of ABA treatment that are not currently available in our community.
“Also, the clinic was a collaboration between the medical and behavioral fields which was important for our students to witness,” said Kotwicki.
Kotwicki said feedback from patients’ parents about the clinic was “phenomenal and very positive.”
“Parents want to continue with the clinic and said they would highly recommend it,” she said. “We demonstrated that there is both a need and the desire for the clinic; therefore, we are working on obtaining funding to make a long-term sustainability model of the clinic.”
Patrone will also host a course at the hospital where students will continue to work with patients beginning this summer.
More information about the Autism Spectrum Disorder Center Oishei Children’s Hospital can be found here.