On Monday, July 11, founder and CEO of Engage Behavioral Health, Jennifer Phelps, appeared on That Business Show with Jamie Meloni. Engage Behavioral Health is the leading provider of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy in Tampa Bay and Tallahassee. The organization develops individualized programs for children with autism spectrum disorder and other special needs. These individualized programs allow children to learn in their natural environments.
Jennifer explained that her passion to work with children originated from growing up in a family with older siblings. As her siblings were having children, she found that she enjoyed the opportunity to play mom. When Jennifer was ten, one of her brothers married a woman who had a child with a developmental disability. That was when she knew she wanted to work with children with special needs. This gave her insight at a very young age to some of the challenges that go along with taking care of a child who has special needs. One of the biggest challenges she noticed was families trusting other professionals to care of a child who was unable to communicate how their day was, or how people were treating them.
Because of her caring nature and passion for helping families of children with disabilities, Jennifer has been very successful. Engage Behavioral Health has grown to 95 staff members since 2011. Jennifer credits this organic growth to maintaining high quality work and a compassionate culture. At Engage Behavioral Health there are three main pillars that give the company its competitive edge. First is family support with a focus on becoming an extension of the family. Second is the internal culture that upholds healthy work-life balances in order to focus on being passionate professionals. The third pillar is quality. Jennifer explains that when therapists are able to focus on their clients and family while maintaining a healthy company culture, it is very easy to preserve quality.
Engage Behavioral Health’s quality includes providing therapy services in all environments. A therapist will travel wherever needed in order to improve a client’s quality of life. Additionally, even though EBH is able to provide services to a range of adolescents and adults with all types of disabilities, its focus is mainly on children with autism spectrum disorder. Jennifer goes on to explain the importance of diagnosing a child at an early age, as well as a parent’s involvement. If a child is diagnosed early and a parent is supportive of Early Intervention treatment, the child benefits greatly. For example, with Early Intervention and supportive families, Jennifer has seen children become indistinguishable from their peers. However, she notes that every child is different and the outcome for treatment will be unique to each individual child. The result will be different depending on each situation.
Another service offered by Engage Behavioral Health is a school, Learning for Life Academy. Located at the North Tampa clinic, Learning for Life Academy is for children ages Kindergarten through Fifth grade. Though this school was created for Engage Behavioral Health clients, it includes other children within the community who are having a difficult time in private or public schools. Many of these children have been asked to leave other schools because the school feels they are not able to maintain their safety. However, the Learning for Life Academy is not meant to be a replacement for a long-term school. It serves as a behavioral boot camp focused on reducing problem behaviors and giving children the skills they need to go back to traditional school. Even though the public school system has numerous programs for special needs, there are too many children to serve. Conversely, the Learning for Life Academy maintains a ratio of one teacher to one or two students. This helps therapists focus intensively on difficulties each child is having.
Jennifer believes it is vital for Engage Behavioral Health to maintain close ties with the community and is constantly finding ways to stay involved. EBH has recently been approved to offer a fellowship to the University of South Florida’s PhD program for Applied Behavioral Analysis. Another aspect of Engage Behavioral Health’s involvement within the community is a recent informational training session to the Temple Terrace Police Department. The training was created by an intern, Tiara Brooks, and focused on Strategies of Engagement when engaging with individuals with special needs.
Jennifer explains that Engage Behavioral Health will continue to work to raise awareness and offer services throughout the area, ultimately raising awareness and creating a lasting footprint within the community.
To watch the full segment, visit here!
Categorized in: Work
This post was written by Elevate, Inc.