The Arc Mercer Provides Supports by Staff Certified in Applied Behavior Analysis

February 14th, 2018

The Arc Mercer Behavior team currently has staff available to provide supports to all service recipients, including those living in group homes and other living arrangements and individuals attending day, respite and vocational training programs. Recently, all Arc Mercer staff providing behavior supports were trained and became certified in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB).

The BACB is a nonprofit organization established in 1998 to meet professional credentialing needs identified by behavior analysts, governments and consumers of behavior analysis services. The mission of the BACB is to “protect consumers of behavior analysis services worldwide by systematically establishing, promoting and disseminating professional standards.” After passing an exam developed by the BACB, multiple Arc Mercer staff earned the credential of Registered Behavior Technician (RBT). These staff are supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), which is a masters level professional, also certified through the BACB.

In employing the techniques learned through training in ABA, Arc Mercer RBT’s and other ABA professionals have furthered their ability to successfully provide supports using evidenced based techniques. Supports are provided to those with problem behaviors such as aggression and self-injurious behaviors. The principles of ABA are also used to help individuals develop communication skills, teach skills required for daily living as well as developing social skills. In addition to providing these supports in homes or day program facilities, Arc Mercer RBT’s also provide these services in the community. Recently, supports were provided to an individual to help practice social skills while attending a recreation event, for example.

It is through this level of support provided by RBT’s in addition to the supports provided by the Arc Mercer’s other mental health professionals including a Licensed Professional Counselor and psychiatrist, which has resulted in no needed crisis admissions for several years.

Chris Hargrave, a behavior specialist/RBT with The Arc Mercer, offered his insight into providing behavior supports and obtaining the RBT credential: “Working as a behavior specialist with The Arc Mercer has been extremely rewarding. At times, unexpected issues may occur as new behavioral concerns arise, but I welcome every opportunity to work with an individual who may need additional behavioral supports. It is great to see an individual make progress toward a goal or overcome a behavior challenge in order to more fully participate in his or her community. I learned a lot in obtaining the RBT credential and I feel that I am now able to more effectively fulfill a role which I already love.”

To learn more about the Healthcare Center, visit or call 609-989-9211.