Friday, 22 June 2012

CEAT closing shop end of June 2012

Northern Ireland based ABA provider CEAT (Centre for Early Autism Treatment) have sent emails to their clients stating that they will be winding down the business and closing shop at the end of this month (June 2012).

I received this news from concerned parents worried about their children's existing ABA programs. Worried is not the word - terrified more like. For some parents, ABA is the only education program they use for their young  children. There are only so many people in Northern Ireland qualified to supervise and direct an ABA program.  Many parents have invested much time, effort and money into the services of CEAT.  Unless someone corrects me, I now am led to believe that CEAT is packing up, selling their Bangor House and moving away for good.

To parents who are financially indebted to CEAT and who will continue to pay their ABA 'bill' to CEAT even after CEAT has left the country,  please refer to your contract with them to ensure that what CEAT promised to provide to your child (meeting goals and objectives/learning new skills) actually transpired.Did you ask for a money back guarantee? Now is the time to refer to it.

For those of you who receive monies from Education and Libary Boards to pay for your ABA programs, you may have to advise your local ELB that your provider is no longer providing. 

After CEAT leaves, families will still want to continue their programs. They will face a  transition period in which they will be forced to find new supervisors and potentially new therapists.  Perhaps what I have said in the past about ABA not being 'rocket science' will ring more true now with families, and parents will understand that they CAN (and now must) do for themselves until new personnel are found. Hopefully the well-trained ex staff of CEAT will put their thinking caps on as to how best to serve the families they work with. In my own personal opinion, it would be great to see PEAT, (the ABA charity in Northern Ireland) and the ex staff of CEAT working together.

I would like to say to all parents and families who use CEAT or any ABA provider that there are strict codes that must be adhered to by behaviour analysts and they can be found here:  here . Regarding the termination of contracts, the document advises the following:

" 2.16 Interrupting or Terminating Services.
(a) Behavior analysts make reasonable efforts to plan for facilitating care in the event that behavior analytic services are interrupted by factors such as the behavior analyst’s illness, impending death, unavailability, or relocation or by the client’s relocation or financial limitations.
(b) When entering into employment or contractual relationships, behavior analysts provide for orderly and appropriate resolution of responsibility for client care in the event that the employment or contractual relationship ends, with paramount consideration given to the welfare of the client.
(c) Behavior analysts do not abandon clients. Behavior analysts terminate a professional relationship when it becomes reasonably clear that the client no longer needs the service, is not benefiting, or is being harmed by continued service.
(d) Prior to termination for whatever reason, except where precluded by the client’s conduct, the behavior analyst discusses the client’s views and needs, provides appropriate pre-termination services, suggests alternative service providers as appropriate, and takes other reasonable steps to facilitate transfer of responsibility to another provider if the client needs one immediately."

I would strongly suggest to any family using CEAT or any other ABA provider to carefully read the entire document in the link above.

If you are a family who is worried about the continuation of your child's ABA program, please ensure you have spoken to your existing therapists and have formulated a plan to keep them on board. As for supervision, you can contact the BACB  HERE  to find out who is available in Northern Ireland and is qualified to supervise a program. You could also contact  PEAT who have BCBA approved supervisors or perhaps you could obtain the services of a supervisor/consultant in the South of Ireland or in England.

Putting all of our 'eggs in one basket' was always a mistake regarding our children's ABA programs, i.e. relying on one 'company' to provide ABA.  It's a pity that lobbying was not CEAT's forte, that they did not do more for parents to pave the way for the use of ABA for other and future children diagnosed with ASD, not just for parents who can afford to pay for it.

I hope, for the sake of the children who have ABA programs with CEAT, that their parents are trained up enough and knowledgeable enough and have good therapists on staff so that their programs can continue for the immediate future.

CEAT allegedly are leaving Northern Ireland due to the 'economic climate' and other factors. I believe that the two principals of the company Mary Hopton Smith and Kim Wroblewski will be living in Wisconsin USA, a state that recently approved ABA to be government funded.