Parents of children with special needs now have double the resources for help with behavioral issues related to autism, attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities.
During 2011 Behavioral Consulting of Tampa Bay
evolved from a staff of 6 with 16 contractors to a staff of 33 employees. And they plan to open an additional location in 2012, which will require filling four staff positions: A board-certified behavior analyst, a board-certified assistant behavior analyst, two behavior therapists and additional support staff.
Kelley Prince, Behavioral Consulting president, says that the rapid growth is due to a combination of need, legislation and word of mouth.
"Children are being diagnosed with autism at an increased rate," says Prince. "One in 100 is the current rate. Another reason [for company growth] is that state legislation was passed that requires insurance companies to cover autism therapy. Now that families only have to pay a co-pay, they've increased their services. And we've built a good reputation for our services throughout the community."
Prince explains that word of mouth is what initially launched her company.
"I was in an undergraduate program in psychology at USF," Prince explains. "And I was working as a nanny for a family with a four-year-old child who had been diagnosed with autism. The family hired a consultant who trained me to work with him."
Prince says she worked with the child for about 20 hours a week for an 18-month period, and the results were so astounding they launched her career.
"At the end of that time, he no longer had a diagnosis of autism," Prince explains. The parents were excited and started talking to other families. It all kind of fell into my lap."
Prince went on to get her master's degree, hire other therapists and open her first location. Behavioral Consultants now has two locations: 6916 W. Linebaugh Avenue in Tampa's Westchase, and 3717 Turman Loop in Wesley Chapel. She says she is hoping to open one in Brandon sometimes between June and September of 2012.
Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Kelley Prince, Behavioral Consultants of Tampa Bay