New behavior center impresses Lt. Governor

Published: May. 5, 2017 at 7:33 PM EDT
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There was excitement from both adults and children at the dedication of the Northern Michigan University's new Behavior Education Assessment and Research Center on Friday, May 5. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley spoke with others about the importance of having a center in the UP.

"I'm just really excited for the community, for people for families who are raising kids with autism that don’t have a lot of service options today," said Calley. "Now will have some hope that they will receive the behavior services that they need to develop skills they need in life."

This facility will provide free behavior analytic assessment and therapeutic services for children with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities and other behavioral concerns. Otherwise known as the B.E.A.R. the center will include a play area, therapy and consultation rooms.

The center also works as a training site for NMU students pursing applied behavior analysis in particularly for supervisor and plan development.

"Students spend most of their training under rigorous supervision, getting feedback and also developing skills they might not get if they just work in the community," said Jacob Daar, the Director of B.E.A.R. "These include such as learning to supervise or manage programs, how to open clinics and that sort of thing."

At the dedication, current students and the president of NMU were able to speak about the need for a center due to practitioners and center shortages. Although the number of centers have grown from 33 to 600 over the past five years, Calley doesn’t want it to stop there.

"We have a long way to go before we have enough for the whole population and that’s what this center is about," said Calley. "I’d love it that if you saw people who are from different people from different communities across the UP they go through this program and then go back home and they start a practice and make a difference right there in the place where they grew up."

The center will also conduct research in collaboration with other academic programs including neuroscience, to improve treatments for individuals with behavioral disabilities.