• LaKeshia Y. Wells, M.Psych, BCBA, LBA

I Was Inspired To Start Elite Spectrum ABA: Here's Why

Updated: Jun 13



I have worked with children with disabilities since I was a teen and I’ve worked specifically with children and young adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) since my early 20s. Throughout the years, I’ve seen the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) go from paper data and locally owned companies to telehealth and companies backed by private equity firms. One thing has always tugged at me, at almost every destination in my career, I continuously saw something was missing.


To Provide a Space Where Service Quality Comes First

One of the main reasons I decided to found my own ABA business is because I got tired of hearing that’s just how it is.


Q: Why are we running cookie-cutter programs?

A: That’s just how it is.

Q: Why are we not prioritizing our clients?

A: That’s just how it is.

Q: So, performance management? BST? No? Ok.

A: That’s just how it is.


Q: High turnover?

A: That’s just how it is.


In various ABA businesses, that’s just how it is. For me, these business models did not fit my values and weren’t sticking to the science of ABA enough. One of the things I learned after listening to parents’ concerns is that they want to be heard and they want to be involved and they want to know what their child’s future looks like. Parents that I have spoken with want to increase their child’s skills, but they also want to learn how to advocate better for their children. How are we as providers helping parents do that if the roots of our businesses are grounded in nothing more than billable hours and repeating the same mistakes because again...that’s just how it is?


I founded Elite to stop these long-standing pain points many clinics experience by making regulation and quality a top priority. I founded Elite to create a clinic where the quality of services is put first and where we can employ students and people who are interested in working with children and adults diagnosed with ASD in their future careers.


To Increase Cultural Awareness and Competency in ABA Treatment

Another key reason I founded my own ABA business is because there aren’t many people from my ethnicity and culture in the field. As the prevalence of autism grows, so does the need for a more diverse group of providers. As of January 2022, the BACB reported that only 3.93% of BCBA’s were Black compared to their White (70.05%) and Hispanic (10.56%).

The above image depicts data reported by certificates in their BACB accounts. The image was last updated on January 28, 2022, as per https://www.bacb.com/bacb-certificant-data/

The effect of cultural influences on the treatment of ASDs is just as significant as the ABCs of ABA. Again, we must put clients first by meeting them where they are in all situations.


Picture this:


Client A attends Happy Place Autism where all of the BCBAs speak English. Client A is nonverbal and lives with his parents, maternal grandmother, and older sister who all speak Spanish. To increase Client A’s language and communication, the BCBA writes a treatment plan listing all of the goals and outcomes for Client A…to be implemented in English.


Let me know in the comments… how this is beneficial to the client and the client’s family?


There are many who are qualified to provide ABA services, but there is also a need to train ABA practitioners to become more culturally aware. For many, it's simply not a priority and I wanted to change that.


I founded Elite ABA because I wanted all children with autism to have the same fair and equitable treatment. I wanted to let parents know that we are here for them too, that we are here for their children, and that we are here for their entire family. We want to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.


To Bring Families Solutions, Not More Problems

I want to be part of the solution and help families get what they need. By showing others that yes, we can provide equity and fairness for all in ABA treatment. I want to help enrich the lives of kids with autism, their families, and our communities. I want to help people see that autism is not something to be feared but something to be understood. Most importantly, I want to be part of the solution and help people be who they truly are. I want to be part of the solution and help people discover their gifts and skills.

I want to do that with those who seek to do the same.


No more going with things just because that’s how it is.


That’s not the Elite way.

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