ABA Services

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Jill Hughes Ed.S., LABA, BCBA
Director of Intensive Services
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HPS offers ABA services for students with autism, and related neurodiverse disabilities, from preschool through high school

Holyoke Public Schools provides a continuum of services and supports for eligible students with autism, and related neurodiverse disabilities, from preschool through high school. Depending upon their needs, students may be placed in inclusion based settings, substantially separate classrooms, or a combination of both. Our goal, for all of our students, is to increase independence and socially significant inclusive experiences.

What is ABA?

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is the application of behavioral principles to shape behavior and teach new skills. Behaviors are observed and analyzed to determine their function. The antecedents and consequences (events preceding and subsequent to the behavior) are analyzed and manipulated in an effort to shape or change behavior. Skills are broken down into small, discrete steps and taught systematically.

Holyoke Public Schools uses a behavioral analytic (ABA) approach to teach a variety of skills necessary for students to acquire, generalize, and maintain socially significant skills needed to prosper in an educational setting, such as:

  • Academic achievement

  • Engagement

  • Language Acquisition

  • Social Skills

  • Independence with school based rituals & routines

  • Life Skills to prepare for adulthood

Our IEP teams—which include the student’s family—determine the most appropriate programs and services, based on each student’s level of need. Our students are educated in the least restrictive environment, and we follow a team-based approach to provide the most comprehensive services, delivered by a variety of service providers, that may include:

  • Board-certified behavior analysts (BCBA) and ABA specialists for consultation

  • Speech-language pathologists (SLP)

  • Occupational therapists (OT)

  • Physical therapists (PT)

  • Vision specialists (TVI)

  • Assistive technology specialists (AT)

  • School Psychologists

  • Adjustment counselors

  • Special education teachers

  • Adapted physical education (APE) teachers

  • ABA trained paraprofessionals (including bilingual support)

  • Behavioral technicians (BT) and Registered Behavioral Technicians (RBT)

We offer a variety of services and supports, including:

  • Staff & family consultation based on principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) 

  • Social skills training

  • Puberty education for adolescent students

  • Verbal behavior approach and augmentative communication training

  • Visual supports, social stories, and other classroom enhancements

  • Sensory groups and sensory supports from the occupational therapist

  • Research-based curriculum, assessments, and skill tracking systems

  • Behavior reduction and replacement using positive behavioral supports, reinforcement strategies, and other evidence-based interventions

  • Functional behavior assessments (FBA) and behavior support plans (BSP)

  • Extended year services (EYS) for qualifying students

  • Comprehensive staff training