WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ – One in 35. That’s the number of children in New Jersey identified with an autism spectrum disorder. It’s a staggering statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But a Monmouth County agency is rising to meet the growing need for services to support children and adults with autism and other behavior challenges. “Graham Behavior Services has been providing families throughout New Jersey with high quality, specialized therapy and services for nearly a decade,” said Cara Graham, the founder and executive director. “As we begin Autism Acceptance Month in April, we are thrilled to celebrate with expanded support.”
Graham Behavior Services (GBS) recently opened a new expansive clinic on State Highway 36 in West Long Branch. With a team of nearly 80 behavior therapists and 6,000-square-feet of space, the agency is now offering the community on-site therapy and an array of new family support programs, in addition to the services they provide in homes, schools and other settings. “Our goal is clear. Our dedicated team provides families with individualized therapy services for their loved ones. We also offer education and support services to strengthen all families in the wake of the pandemic,” Graham said.
Graham is a board-certified behavior analyst with a master of arts degree in special education and teaching. She founded GBS in 2013 to provide the community with comprehensive, evidence-based support from behavior therapists. “We help children and adults with autism and behavior challenges pursue productive, purposeful and fulfilling lives,” Graham said, adding that GBS also offers unique professional workshops for teachers, healthcare providers and fellow therapists.
“Many parents and caregivers with autistic children go through the same frightening thought process of how to handle the complexities of care and support,” according to Graham. “We’re here not only to provide caring and effective therapy for the children, but to support the entire family.” The bright, welcoming clinic on State Highway 36 in West Long Branch offers Applied Behavior Therapy (ABA) for infants to adults, afterschool programs, plus a host of parenting workshops and other new supportive programs:
- Early Intervention for Children 5 & Under
Young children can learn and thrive with ABA therapy, the only scientifically validated treatment for individuals on the autism spectrum, Graham said. Board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) work with children to develop communication, social and self-care skills through play-based instruction and activities that foster positive behaviors.
- Afterschool Activities
This spring, GBS will be piloting an engaging afterschool program at the clinic for children with both disabilities and their typically developing peers. Children will have fun learning from one another as they explore cooking, music, yoga, dance, Zumba, sports, games, gardening, and other activities under the guidance of skilled therapists. The pilot will be available for two days a week, and when the program launches in the fall, it will be open two hours a day, four days a week.
- Purposeful Parenting
The pandemic has been a challenging time for all families, not just those with special needs children. GBS is proud to launch the Purposeful Parenting Program to give families tools to help their children develop appropriate social and emotional behaviors. Based on the principles of ABA, the program is open to all parents wanting to improve their parenting skills. Individual and small-group sessions are now available either in clients’ homes or via video in 10-week sessions.
“Strengthening individuals and families has always been at the heart of Graham Behavior Services,” said Ashley Kemmerer, a board-certified behavior analyst and director of GBS training and clinic operations. In a recent survey, Kemmerer noted, every parent confirmed that GBS behavior technicians provide quality ABA services and each reported improvement with their child since engaging with GBS.
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Jilian DeTiberiis, GBS clinical director and a board-certified analyst, added that parents “have long told us that having children with autism can be extremely isolating and that they are often misunderstood. We are always prepared to help families navigate the support services available to help their children achieve their fullest potential.”
Families are invited to visit the new clinic, Monday-Friday, 3-5 p.m., by scheduling an appointment at 848-888-3204. Throughout Autism Acceptance Month in April, visitors to the clinic may enter to win a drawing for a gift. For more information about Graham Behavior Services, visit grahambehaviorservices.com.