May Institute’s reputation for excellence in the field of human services has long attracted the interest of colleagues from throughout the world. Most recently, our expertise in the fields of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and Positive Behavior Support (PBS) has helped us forge new alliances with educators in Poland and Iceland.
For Monika Suchowierska, Ph.D., BCBA, Director of the Center for Early Intervention in Warsaw, Poland, the opportunity to collaborate with May Institute is “a dream come true.
“I want to establish our Center as a strong, science-based institute that collaborates with universities and other well-established, very effective organizations such as May Institute,” she said in an interview during a recent visit to May Institute in Massachusetts.
May Institute Chief Clinical Officer Dennis C. Russo, Ph.D., ABPP, met Dr. Suchowierska several years ago at a national ABA conference and the two began a dialogue about potential collaborations. As a result, the Institute and Dr. Suchowierska’s Warsaw Center signed an agreement to exchange information via monthly presentations and peer review. These inter-country meetings are made possible through the use of software that enables video conferencing over the Internet.
In April, Lauren C. Solotar, Ph.D., May Institute’s Chief Psychologist and Senior Vice President of Clinical Services, traveled to Poland to attend a conference sponsored by the Warsaw School of Social Psychology and the Polish ABA organization. While she was there, Dr. Solotar gave a presentation at the school and consulted on cases at the Center.
May Institute is helping the Center in Warsaw develop a “Step-by-Step” preschool program for children with autism – the first program of its kind in Poland. In addition, the National Autism Center has signed an agreement to provide parent training to the Warsaw Center. “This is a very important issue for us,” says Dr. Suchowierska. “We want to learn how to more effectively train and work with parents so they can take better care of their children with autism.”
Dr. Suchowierska is the only Board Certified Behavior Analyst in Poland, but she hopes that will change soon. “We have worked hard to create a board certification program in conjunction with the Warsaw School of Social Psychology, and our first class is ready to sit for their Behavior Analyst certification exams.”
“More and more, we’re finding Eastern Bloc countries coming to us and asking us to help them develop human services programs,” says Dr. Russo. “We are pleased to be able to provide them with significant support and technical assistance.”
Icelandic Educators Visit
Eight schools and 4,000 students in Lawrence, Mass., are benefiting from May Institute’s Positive Behavior Support (PBS) services. Their success has attracted the attention of the Iceland Department of Education. Recently, a group of educators from Iceland visited May Institute’s Randolph campus and the Guilmette Elementary School in Lawrence to learn more about our PBS model.