At the moment, ABA Senegal offers daily services in our therapy space in Ouakam, Dakar. Limited home and school services are also available.
October 2017 - April 2018
April 2018 - Sept 2019
Practicum (1500 hours) -- Clinic Preparation
The Director prepared for their own practicum hours to start in Dakar. This involved:
Completing training coursework (Oct 2017-Oct 2018)
Securing practicum locations and clients
Securing funding for startup materials (see our GoFundMe campaign)
Acquiring startup materials (furnishings, toys, and therapy supplies - thank you DevelopAfrica, N&M, and Stephen Bailey for your kind help and donations!)
Securing distance supervision
In this stage, the Director went through their coursework and practicum hours to sit the BCBA exam in August 2019. The practicum was carried out in donated spaces, in home settings, and in clients' school settings.
During this time, preparations for the opening of a private therapeutic space were carried out. This included:
Model-specific training via additional online distance learning tools
DTT distance training completed. PRT Level II completed (Level III begun).
Determining and fine-tuning the nature of our intervention model, schedule, and activities.
Preparing to take on clinic clients and additional employees (determination of needs, setup of contracts, handbooks, & policies).
Sitting the BCBA exam.
Completed August 2019 - and passed!
Securing a location to house the therapy space (rented)
Setting up the space: Furnishings, therapy materials, etc.
Making hires, staff orientation and training, as well as transitioning current clients over
Networking and community grounding - Local: Connect with local special needs schools and centers, assess needs, and build relationships. Global: Connecting with wider-reaching entities and organizations such as universities, embassies, local and nonlocal nonprofits & NGOs and governmental structures, as well as other ABA programs in Africa. Additionally, finding opportunities to receive distance consulting and CEUs.
Always in progress!
The Pilot Year
Oct 2019 - Oct 2020
Supported by local educational specialists, ABA Senegal's program aims to include a blend of one-on-one intervention and enriching activities with siblings when possible. Students will receive therapy in either the home or clinic environment for a recommended 15 hours per week, excepting children receiving school support (Most clientele comprise of younger children under 6 years old).
Parent support and open communication will continue to be very highly valued! We consider parents a part of our team and will be open to their input.
The Director will place a high emphasis on staff training (not to mention headhunting for future BCBAs!).
During this time, our services will be subject to further supervision and consultation from the U.S.
End-of-year student body goal: 7 students
Years 1-2 : Small Private Practice +
Preparations for the Training Center
Oct 2020 - September 2021
After at least 1 year in private practice, ABA Senegal may be ready to expand! By the beginning of Year 2 we hope to begin establishing a small nonprofit with the following goals:
1) Aid in providing quality direct services with quality materials and staff here in Senegal,
2) Contribute to dissemination and awareness of autism and science-backed ABA information to the community, and
3) Contribute to the education of Senegalese individuals pursuing a career in ABA (in addition to providing supervision).
This means finding a larger space, registering as a nonprofit, and beginning larger, center-sized projects, such as facilitating formal ABA certification for staff.
Steps include :
Streamlining programming, communication, supervision, billing, material acquisition, and other practice components.
Formal non profit registration in Senegal (U.S. registration to follow)
Completed - ABA Senegal is registered in Senegal and is under fiscal sponsorship of Autism Compassion Africa, a Seattle-based nonprofit (as of April 2021)
Presence of an international ABA certification organization available
Translation of formal staff training & continuing education materials
We are currently working closely with the IBAO on translating their certification materials into French
Continued occasional participation in outside projects when possible (autism awareness events, conferences, consult for trainings....)
Fundraising for project startup and preparing for maintenance needs
Securing a location to house the larger therapy space
Setting up the space: Furnishings, reparations, etc.
Making hires, formalized staff orientation and training, and onboarding new clients, as well as transitioning current clients over
By Year 3, ABA Senegal will be a full-fledged nonprofit housed in a full-sized center containing at least 4 therapy rooms. Students can enroll for full day or half day services. Services will be expanded to include social skills groups as well as evaluations for school readiness. Outings and special activities will become more frequent as we hope to partner with local nonprofits and specialized schools.
An ABA certification pathway in French (online!) should be available or soon-to-be-available for our center staff. This pathway lies at the core of ABA Senegal's sustainability mission. Therapy will ideally be supervised by Senegalese professionals for Senegalese clients.
At the end of Year 2 the Director will have the capability to take on practicum supervisees who wish to begin their own formal education in ABA (Masters degree and English-language mastery NO longer required, hopefully!). If a pathway is ready before this point, distance francophone supervision will be sought. Practicum supervision will be paired with online coursework (www.aba-online.fr), culminating in an online exam.
We hope that ABA certification candidates will be beginning their studies by the end of Year 3. At this point, ABA Senegal will begin registering as a francophone online CEU provider (none exists as of yet) for students who will soon graduate.
Continued consultation from a diverse range of ABA specialists will still be sought. We additionally hope to have secured occasional speech and occupational therapy consults by visiting specialists whenever possible, as well as volunteers.
Year 3 student body goal: 7-10 students, until another BCBA is added, though school and home services may be limited and replaced by center cases as energies move towards training new BCBAs.
Within this period the first Senegalese BCBA will become certified! This may allow our student body to increase.
In Year 4, we will aim to hire a Program Director under ABA Senegal's BCBA supervision. Our greatest hope will be that this individual will have obtained their BCBA certification through us. We may also be able to hire an administrative assistant (in addition to our office assistant).
By end of Year 4 we hope to have accumulated satisfactory progress data to apply for grants to expand the project.
By the end of Year 4 we hope to have secured real estate in or near Dakar to build a larger space in order to expand and welcome more students (a quicker alternative would be buy a pre-existing building, depending on growth needs). Construction would be expected to take 1-3 years, well-underway in Year 5.
If a second BCBA is certified at the center, our Year 5 student body goal would be 12-14, housed in the new location. New BCBAs will be contracted to stay on at least 1 additional year after certification (The IBAO will require 2 years of post-certification supervision).
We aim to produce 5-10 new BCBAs by Year 10. At this point our veteran BCBAs will come to a decision point: Stay at ABA Senegal, or move on to disseminate ABA independently? Our dream is that a number of these BCBAs would wish to work in a variety of locations in Senegal, particularly outside of the urban center of Dakar. By Year 10 we would aim for two new centers to be in the process of development or completed, for which ABA Senegal would act as a consultancy and partial funding source. Additionally, we hope that several BCBAs would wish to start their own independent treatment and consulting businesses as the field grows beyond our own walls, granted a high standard to evidence-based practices via outside consultation.
Our own centers should aim to house a relatively low student body, 30 students maximum within 6+ classrooms, to maintain space and flexibility for a 1:1 student-therapist ratio as well as quality, student-centered management practices.