ABC of NC is one of only a handful of comprehensive autism service providers in North Carolina. With autism prevalence rates rising more than 120% since 2000 and increased coverage of intensive autism therapies by some insurance providers and Medicaid, the demand for autism services is steadily increasing.
In April 2017, the Golden LEAF Board awarded $100,000 to ABC of NC Foundation to support the construction of a 23,000-square-foot diagnostic and therapeutic clinic, which has led to the creation of 55 new high-demand jobs and 65 new skilled workers. The $4.5 million building was supported by several public and private resources.
“ABC of NC started out as a small private school that worked with students with autism,” said Angie Wilson ABC of NC Director of Development. “We take immense pride in the difference we are making in the lives of the children and the families we serve. For far too long, most North Carolina families could not access the treatment needed for their children because intensive autism therapy was not covered by most insurances. Because of the high cost of the intensive treatment, ABC of NC worked diligently alongside other autism advocacy organizations to help pass insurance reforms to require many insurance companies to cover autism treatment.”
Now that Medicaid and other insurances are covering autism treatment in North Carolina, there is a high need for service providers like ABC of NC. According to the CDC, one in 54 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
“ABC of NC is committed to making autism services available to families from any economic background,” said Wilson. “We have seen families from as many as 18 surrounding counties. What that tells us is that all of those counties need these services.”
ABC of NC uses applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy. This type of therapy in North Carolina requires three levels of workers: a psychologist who oversees a master’s level board certified behavior analyst who oversees registered behavior technicians.
“We cannot hire fast enough,” said Wilson. “There are not enough people who have these certifications or degrees.”
ABC of NC is helping solve the bottleneck in the hiring pipeline by taking a proactive approach.
“We have established an in-house training program,” said Wilson. “Once our employees sit for the registered behavioral technician exam, they have a certification that is portable. We want them to stay with us, but they can use this credential anywhere. Additionally, we have created an internal pipeline, where we nurture their skills and help them hone their craft. They can then move up within our internal tier system and possibly earn a master’s level credential if they choose.”
So far, ABC of NC has helped train 65 workers with new skills, credentials, and/or degrees.
“We are creating jobs in an industry that didn’t even exist in North Carolina a few years ago,” said Wilson, “and we hold the quality of our services and our staff against any provider. We have created quality jobs and created opportunities for advancement within our organization.”
The ABC of NC Child Development Center is centrally located just south of Winston-Salem in Davidson County and currently serves clients in 13 counties: Catawba, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Rockingham, Rowan, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes, Wilson, and Yadkin.
The opportunities for careers in autism treatment are growing. ABC of NC offers a great pipeline to quality careers and provides needed services for many North Carolina families.