Clinical & Behavioral Services

Clinical & Behavioral Services

The Clinical & Behavioral Team at Abilities First helps to ensure all people we serve, from preschool students to adults, are able to achieve their goals and be as successful as they can be. Our team of qualified clinicians develops and implements high-quality evidence-basedThis term is often used to describe a particular therapeutic treatment or educational model, and it means the treatment or model has been subjected to rigorous scientific testing that demonstrated it is effective – or more effective than other treatments or models.... More treatments and supports, and develops innovative person-centered strategies.

Because behavioral healthThis term generally refers to psychological well-being, or the absence of mental health symptoms. is so closely tied to personal satisfaction and life-quality, this team also ensures that documented interests and requests made by people we support actually turn into meaningful social recreational activities or changes in services we deliver.

A diagram illustrating the first person driven services model at Abilities First.

Abilities First Person Driven Services Model

Often the most important factor that affects overall health, including behavioral healthThis term generally refers to psychological well-being, or the absence of mental health symptoms., is satisfaction with life. We must listen to people that we serve to allow their thoughts, ideas and values to drive the service planning process. However, once a service plan is created, we have to continue listening everyday as people tell us what is important to them.

Abilities First has a unique model that requires all staff members to document when people we serve tell us something important. We then use this documentation system to ensure that we follow up with requests so no one goes unheard. Finally, we have a dedicated Activities Coordinator who reviews these documents to identify the kinds of social and recreational activities that are important to people.

This person coordinates events and activities that allow people we serve to build and maintain authentic social relationships with other people we serve, their family and friends and anyone else that is important to them. Through this process we assist people as they pursue happiness and satisfaction that supports behavioral healthThis term generally refers to psychological well-being, or the absence of mental health symptoms..

A doctor takes a patient's blood pressure.

Behavioral Analysis, Support and Intervention

When it is necessary, Abilities First employs a variety of clinical techniques to solve complex behavioral issues. These techniques incorporate elements of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)ABA is a specific clinical model for development of adaptive skills and management of maladaptive behavior based primarily on an analysis of the function of specific defined behavior. It is most often used with children with autism, but can also be used for other children and adults.... More, Positive Behavior Support (PBS)A philosophy and behavior management system where clinicians seek to understand the motivations behind maladaptive behavior and replace with functional responses that achieve the same or similar outcomes.... More and other clinical models.

Our team includes Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Clinical Psychologists, Board Certified Behavior Analysts and other properly qualified clinicians. When we build an individualized clinical plan that is based on sound data and practice guidelines, we are able to help people maximize the benefits they receive from other programs and services.

A person comforts another person by holding their wrist.

Linkage and Referral to Community Clinical Resources

In addition to the services we offer at Abilities First, our community holds a wealth of other clinical resources offered by primary and specialty physicians, hospital systems, clinics and other non-profit organizations.

One key to optimal success is advanced coordination of clinical services across disciplines such as psychiatry, substance use treatment, counseling, etc. When needed, our clinical team works closely with other professionals in our community to coordinate the best possible integrated care.

A woman and man speak together at a coffee shop.

Clinical Consultation and Training

Upon request, professional clinical staff at Abilities First can conduct outreach consultation or provide training to preschools, schools, child care centers, non-profit organizations and other community partners. Such consultation and training can focus on basic to advanced problem solving in disabilityA traditional term that generally means a person has a condition that makes it difficult for them to do things that those without disabilities can do. While we try to minimize use of this term because it emphasizes people’s limitations rather than strengths, it is sometimes necessary for diagnostic and funding purposes.... More related topics.

A member of Abilities First holds an art piece made during an art therapy program.

Art Therapy

In addition to other traditional therapies, Abilities First offers art therapy. We provide individual art therapy and weekly open studio art groups. The one-on-one sessions allow people to explore, express and process emotions and experiences. The studio art group provides opportunity for social experiences and relationship building through the artistic expression.

An open road with sky and clouds.

Recovery Services

Like many other people in the world, those with developmental challenges sometimes struggle with substance abuse and addiction. However, developmental challenges often present obstacles to success in traditional treatment programs. For these reasons, we created the Abilities First Outpatient Recovery Services (AFORS), which includes a substance use treatment program licensed by the NYS Office for Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)The state office that administers state funded alcohol and substance abuse treatment programs. Abilities First Outpatient Recovery Services (AFORS) are licensed and funded by OASAS..

Our clinic employs a traditional 12-step treatment model that is adjusted for pace and repetition of concepts to accommodate developmental challenges. The ultimate purpose of AFORS is to clear away obstacles presented by alcoholism and substance use so people can achieve their other life goals such as independent living and employment. Our clinic is located in LaGrange. Related residential services may be available on a limited basis.

For additional information about Abilities First Clinical and Behavioral Services contact your Abilities First Program Director where you receive services.