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On April 22, 2016 the ABA in PA Initiative hosted its second annual strategic planning meeting at the Hershey Medical Center. Over 100 participants from across the state attended this all-day meeting. The agenda included developing an action plan for advocacy efforts to improve access to the most effective behavioral treatment for children with autism, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).

ABA is effective for individuals withautism as well as other developmental disabilities. This group, under the leadership of Dr. Cheryl Tierney, Section Chief of Behavior and Developmental Pediatrics at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital, has been in existence since 2012. The group took flight in 2014 when the Sonny O lawsuit was filed against the Department of Human Services of Pennsylvania. "It is important for someone to stand up and do something. Children in Pennsylvania are not getting the services that they need to maximize their developmental outcomes and our group focuses on improving access to Quality ABA programming for all children throughout the Commonwealth," states Dr. Tierney.


At the 2nd Annual strategic planning meeting, presenters from across the state discussed ways of improving access, reimbursement, awareness, and the quality of therapies currently available.  Thegroup advocates for ABA, because it is clinically proven to help children communicate more effectively, be more independent with activities of daily living, and to socially interact with their peers.  ABA not only targets the behavioral symptoms of autism but also helps to develop the skills necessary for communication, socialization, and interaction with others.

At the conclusion of the all-day event, providers were energized and ready to make a difference. The ABA in PA Initiative has already been successful at improving access across the state but "there is more work to be done", says Tierney. This year the group’s  objectives include: Helping the public understand the importance of ABA as the foundation of treatment, enhancing training opportunities for providers, and to help unite BHRS providers who want quality now.  

Speaking for the ABA in PA Initiative, Dr. Tierney states, “We promise not to stop short so that our children can have a brighter future!”  









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