Jeremy Brown (Executive Director) and Jacqueline Thweatt-Burton (Assistant Director) of Certified Behavior Health Services serve rural areas across the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. Demand for services is high in these areas and it can be a challenge for practitioners due to long drive times to and from clients. Most of their work within the community is in-home, and the parents are grateful to be able to have access to professionals.
The biggest hurdles for Jeremy and Jacqueline are that their states were some of the last to pass reform laws and that their clients don’t always know what ABA is. They also have such an intense need for services that sometimes there are waitlists up to a year long. Another challenge is that parents may have had a negative experience with ABA services in the past, so work needs to be done to change the perception. Rural communities tend to be close-knit, so it’s important to be able to demonstrate to parents that you’re worthy of their trust.
Throughout the pandemic, many practitioners relied on telehealth to provide services to families. Jeremy and Jacqueline have seen positive results, noting that the eliminated drive time between clients translates into more services offered. They’ve seen many clients’ behaviors drastically improve and having parents on the other end to supervise while they’re in a telehealth session has been beneficial. The hope is that insurance continues to cover telehealth appointments so that more of the community can gain access to much-needed ABA services.
- Challenges of serving families across states in rural communities.
- Suggestions for promoting positive ABA awareness.
- How telehealth impacted services throughout the pandemic.