Oahu, Hawaii

Upon her initial discovery of Practical Functional Assessment (PFA) and Skill-Based Treatment (SBT), Emely Suazo was immediately drawn to enhance her knowledge through an online CEU presentation by Dr. Gregory Hanley. This presentation played a pivotal role in shaping her subsequent actions, igniting a strong motivation to seamlessly integrate PFA-SBT into her existing clinical programs at her ABA STEPS, LLC clinic.

Despite her various constraints, her commitment to fostering excellence in her staff remained resolute. She recognized the significance of offering PFA-SBT training with PEAK, AIM, and LIFE Programs. She enlisted the expertise of Dr. Theresa Fiani at FTF to guide her team through the implementation of PFA-SBT for clients in their care. This collaboration led to credentialing four staff members at Levels 3 and 4, specializing in implementing PFA-SBT for Severe Problem Behavior.

“Integrating PFA-SBT was not without its challenges, and I am certain these challenges resonate with others in the field. Navigating demanding schedules, securing funding, aligning with insurance billing requirements, and refining policies and procedures were among the multifaceted obstacles I encountered. Recognizing the need to bridge these gaps to sustain the implementation of PFA-SBT, I adjusted STEPS’ policies and practices. These adaptations encompassed compensation schedules, reporting mechanisms, and authorization protocols aimed at insurance providers. Moreover, with Dr. Fiani’s support I thoughtfully fine-tuned the delivery of SBT while preserving the fundamental integrity of the process.

Motivated by the remarkable progress observed among participants and the growth of our staff, I made additional financial commitments to engage in FTF’s Train-the-Trainer consultation model. This strategic investment allowed my team to achieve Level 6 Supervision Credentials. Armed with this enhanced expertise, our team assumed the role of trainers, empowering our entire staff to confidently implement PFA-SBT with unwavering integrity. The resultant outcomes were evident as our trainees successfully attained Levels 3 and 4 PFA-SBT Credentials.”

Driven by a commitment to deliver compassionate, evidence-based interventions, Emely and her colleagues actively pursued application and implementation support across various curricula. Notable examples include The Balance Program, Preschool-Life Skills (PLS), assessment and treatment of food selectivity, prevention of sleep problems, and assessment and treatment of stereotypy. Combining these approaches into their service portfolio has expanded their offerings, creating a more comprehensive and impactful suite of services for the clients in their care.

Emely Suazo is the owner and Clinical Director of ABA STEPS, LLC in Oahu, Hawaii. ABA STEPS, LLC provides effective, comprehensive ABA services to individuals with special needs across various settings, including clinic and home-based, community, private schools, and group settings. Emely’s focus remains dedicated to the comprehensive skill development of all staff members, seeking to optimize their collective ability to support clients and their families effectively.

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