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Association for Behavior Analysis International
The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.
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11th Annual Autism Conference; San Juan, Puerto Rico; 2017
Invited Paper Session #15
Behavior Analytic Services in Puerto Rico: Hard Work, Bright Future
Thursday, February 2, 2017
11:00 AM–11:20 AM
San Juan Grand Ballroom
Wayne W. Fisher (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)
MARTA RIVIERE (Arcoiris de Esperanza)
Marta Riviere received her Bachelor of Science with a major in mathematics from the University of Puerto Rico in 1985. She was concurrently certified as a high school math teacher. She completed her master's degree in special education from Rutgers University, New Jersey in 1987. It was then that she had her first experience working with children with autism at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center. From this experience, she grew an interest in the field of autism and a desire to help families in Puerto Rico, where services for this population are limited. Combining her two interests, math and special education, she pursued behavior analysis studies becoming one of the first Board Certified Behavior Analysts in Puerto Rico in December 2014. She has worked for the Department of Defense Schools for twenty-six years as a special education teacher where she has had the opportunity to work with a full range of levels and disabilities. After receiving her certification, she has been promoting ABA in the island through meetings and communications with the Puerto Rico Department of Education, health insurances, private schools, support groups and other behavior analysts, as well as organizing seminars for parents and professionals in collaboration with the Alianza de Autismo. She trained the first local group of Registered Behavior Technicians and has contributed in the organization of behavior analysts in Puerto Rico. She founded the non-profit organization 'Arcoiris de Esperanza" following a life-long dream to help individuals with autism and their families. The goal of this organization is to offer efficient and quality services to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities through their lifespan.
Behavior analytic services have been almost non-existent in Puerto Rico until recently. Although some organizations have used the term "ABA therapy" as part of their services, in most cases, these have not been provided by Board Certified Behavior Analysts. Colleges and universities in the island do not offer behavior analysis as a field of study. Health insurance providers do not recognize ABA therapy as an alternative of service for their clients. Many parents of children with autism have not heard of this therapy either. Developing behavior analytic services in the island will require a great effort and energy in order to educate parents, agencies, and the general public in what ABA is and how it can make a difference by transforming lives. Steps have been taken in this direction, bringing hope to many families looking for effective interventions.
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