In 1996, from a small bedroom in a Naples home, a company called Applied Behavioral Learning Enterprises (ABLE) was born. The company name detailed not only the science of behavior analysis, but its acronym ABLE encapsulated a strong belief that the focus of treatment for children with developmental delays and learning challenges should be placed on what an individual is ABLE to do, rather than what he or she is un-ABLE to do, regardless of a label or diagnosis that when placed, draws instant boundaries the child is not expected to exceed.
Through leading-edge research-validated practice and family training and support, children gain language, academic and social skills toward realizing their full potential.
A Naples native, the daughter of a retired Collier County educator and long-time Naples foster care advocate, Colleen received a Bachelors Degree in Emotional Disturbance Education and Communication, as well as her Board Certified Associate Behavior Analysis Certification. With a desire to support the community in which she was raised, she returned to Naples upon graduation. Colleen worked for Collier County Public Schools first as a special education teacher, and then as a behavior analyst. It was during this time that Colleen completed her Masters Degree in Varying Exceptionalities education and began pursuing her Doctorate of Education in Special Education and Curriculum Development. Colleen's Doctorate Dissertation, a multi-state study, found that program quality and fidelity directly corresponds to the extent to which a Board Certified Behavior Analyst directly interacts with the learner for whom the learning program is designed. This dissertation earned Colleen national recognition and is the foundation upon which the ABLE Academy program is built.
In 2000, two like-minded colleagues, who have the same commitment to the science of Behavior Analysis and its effective application joined ABLE in providing services to children, adolescents and adults in homes and in other facilities in Collier County. Staff meetings took place in that tiny bedroom. The materials storage was the trunks of cars. The system worked. Colleen and her colleagues focused on the success of each individual client and created a culture of celebrating change. In 2005, as caseloads grew, the team determined that in order to maximize service to clients, finding a facility would be in order.
This first location which would be called ABLE Academy, a non-profit organization dedicated to the steadfast application of the science of behavior to effect change. The growth that has occurred since the doors of ABLE Academy opened is tremendous. Services have evolved from assessments and 1:1 services into the three tiered, research supported model that is in place today. Through national training and consultation by Colleen, this model has been replicated and recognized in other parts of the country. With a strong model and high rates of children’s progress, the number of students and staff continues to grow. ABLE Academy is now housed in a 13,000 square foot facility allowing for greater service to children and families in need.
Today, ABLE Academy provides many other programs, including a full time school program for children preschool through high school aged, social skills classes and an early intensive intervention clinic where preschool-aged children receive intensive, course altering therapy.
On a daily basis at ABLE Academy, opportunities are provided that help to change the trajectory of a child’s life.