Key Learning Autism Center (KLAC) will be opening May 2019 in Morgantown, WV located at the Mountaineer Mall. The owners of the KLAC are Terry and Sherry (Parsons) Ramsey formerly of Parsons. The Ramseys moved to Morgantown in November of 1997 following Consol Energy’s purchase of Island Creek Coal Company. T. Ramsey has continued to work in the coal industry the past 21 years. When their eldest daughter, Haley, was completing her Masters degree at West Virginia University with an emphasis in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis they decided to support their daughter’s passion to serve children with autism and open a center in Morgantown.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported autism prevalence at 1 in 59 children in 2018. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy is the most effective treatment for children diagnosed with autism. ABA has over 30 years of proven research documenting its success and is recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General. The Mountaineer Autism Project estimates less than 10% of WV children with autism have access to this life-changing, medically necessary treatment known as ABA Therapy. There are only 85 Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and Board Certified assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA) in WV who are qualified to provide evidence-based ABA Therapy. In surrounding states the number of BCBA/BCaBA registered are as follows: PA 1483, VA 1148, OH 581, MD 503, KY 271. Factors limiting an increase of certified professionals are passage of autism insurance reform laws and academic or practicum training programs. West Virginia families have settled for significantly less ABA daily or weekly hours than recommended for successful treatment due to the shortage of BCBAs in the state. The dream of providing more ABA treatment programs to Morgantown and surrounding areas is finally becoming a reality.
The KLAC will offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy to children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Their center based services are for children ages 2-10. They will offer half day and full day programs from 2-5 days per week. The KLAC has three Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). BCBAs use a scientific approach to assess the child’s ability and behaviors to develop individualized strategies to teach the child new skills and improve behaviors. Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) implement one-on-one treatment programs and are directly supervised by BCBAs. Their goal is to prepare children to successfully integrate into a typical classroom setting by increasing pre-academic skills and decreasing behavior that may interfere with learning or daily life. In addition to providing services for children with ASD the KLAC plans to offer internship opportunities to West Virginia University students pursuing a career in applied behavior analysis. It is their mission to increase the number of professionals who are qualified to deliver ABA Therapy services.
The BCBAs at the KLAC are Haley Ramsey, Devin Parsons and Charlotte Arrington. They earned their Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Masters of Arts in Special Education with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis from West Virginia University. All three of them were awarded the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) grant scholarship for graduate school. During graduate school they were supervisors at the Intensive Autism Service Delivery Clinic now at the WVU Children’s Neurodevelopmental Center. After graduation they decided to take their training to the next level and open their own center. As they grow, they hope to expand services to include ABA based respite for daily living, after hours care and community fun nights.