There are many theories and methods professionals apply when working with children and adults with autism. Among them is Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), which Lee Mason utilizes at his Teacher Education Autism Model (TEAM) at the University of Texas San Antonio campus. Mason, an assistant professor in the UTSA Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching, opened the center to offer low-cost ABA services for children and teenagers with autism, utilizing the “I do, we do, you do” approach. According to statistics, 9,000 children and 21,000 are diagnosed with autism in San Antonio, with only 30 board-certified behavior analysts (BCBA’s) are available for therapy services.
TEAM also serves as a teaching environment for graduate students in special education, educational psychology, and the like who are working towards their ABA certification. The center offers a social skills clinic, helping both the students with autism and the graduate students in ABA. This summer, the TEAM members and Mason are working with teenage boys with high-functioning autism, focusing on how to respond to awkward or uncomfortable social settings. The center has been successful thus far, as Mason states,
“We are very happy with the success of the TEAM Center over the past two semesters, but we have a lot of work left to do. We already have more than 100 names of children in need of UTSA’s services on our waiting list. We are also hoping to expand the TEAM center’s services into the evening hours, which would benefit school-aged children with autism.” [i]
Lee Mason is opening the doors for other professionals to create centers like TEAM, which would benefit both the children and adults with autism receiving therapy, and the graduate students who are working toward their ABA certifications. To read more about Mason’s TEAM Center, click here.