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ACES and ABA Looking Back - 20 Years

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ACES and ABA Looking Back - 20 Years

February 1, 2016, CJ's Corner

ACES Early Days
Early ACES
I would like to share a brief look back and note some key events that all contributed to ACES ABA as it exists today.

I will actually step back further than 20 years to include the point at which Applied Behavior Analysis launched the first journal dedicated to applying the science of behavior, Behavior Analysis, to solving real-life problems by focusing on how to “apply” the principles of the science to socially significant behaviors. Determining the social significance of behaviors is an essential element of ABA. It is the clients, parents, teachers, that drive the determination of which behaviors in society will improve the quality of life for our clients, their families and their communities. This has been a major focus for ACES since its beginning.

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis – 1968

ACES Early Days
The first issue published the landmark article “Some Current Dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis” which laid the foundational groundwork for everything that has followed and continues to prove its effectiveness through collaboration of goals, strong support systems, a focus on improving measurable changes and teaching those changes to be successful in a variety of situations.

ABAI – 1974

The Association of Behavior Analysis International was founded providing an annual convention for behavior analysts to share the results of their research and conduct workshops to teach the newest strategies to practitioners.

Lovaas - 1987

ACES Early Days
Ivar Lovaas published a study showing the effectiveness of ABA in a peer reviewed journal that would lay the foundation for future funding of ABA services for individuals with Autism.

ACES ABA – 1996

ACES was founded and has since grown from one office in California to 15 offices across 5 states. ACES has always focused on “how can we help more families” and our growth over 20 years shows we are doing just that.

ACES Orange County - 1997

One year after ACES started in San Diego, it expanded to help more children by opening its second office in Orange County.

BACB established - 1998

ACES Early Days
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board was founded and provided the standards for evidence-based applications of behavior analysts. It created academic and fieldwork requirements leading to a Board Certification for Behavior Analysts at three different levels.

ACES National University - 2005

ACES sent Directors and Supervisors to the very first approved BACB Certification Program in the state of California at National University. Two students from that initial group were Layla Feldhaus, current Director of ACES Academy, and Heather O’Shea, current Chief Clinical Officer of ACES.

ACES Academy - 2006

The ACES Academy (a non-public school) opened and passed the “on-site inspection” and all criteria by the approving committee on the very first visit to the Academy. ACES Academy now offered a school specifically designed to meet the academic needs of children with Autism in San Diego.

ACES an Approved Continuing Education Provider - 2009

ACES Early Days
Board Certified Behavior Analysts are required to continue their ABA education by attending continuing education events. In 2009, ACES applied to the BACB to become an Organizational Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Provider and was approved. ACES was now able to offer continuing education training to staff and community.

ACES Beyond California – 2009

After many years of working with military families in California, ACES is asked by TRIWEST to open an office to serve families in need in El Paso, Texas. After successfully opening the El Paso office in February, ACES was approached again to open offices in Hawaii and Tacoma, Washington. By the end of 2009, ACES was now serving families in 4 different states.

KFAC - 2012 (

ACES partnered with the University of North Texas in Denton and opened the Kristin Farmer Autism Center (KFAC). KFAC set its mission to conduct evidence-based research, training, and direct services to positively impact individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families.


ACES Early Days
Now, 20 years later, ACES has over 15 offices in 5 different states and growing. We have a highlighted timeline to show some major events that have contributed to making ACES ABA the industry leader that we are today.

On a personal note, I started my 10th year with ACES the first week of January 2016. I have the distinction of being the Director of Behavior Analysis for ACES and can honestly say this is the best job in my career where I am able to help so many dedicated professionals here do so much for so many families.

The People Who Make the Difference

Over the years I have taken a few pictures of the people I have come to love working with and I would share some of those pictures from the early days (before I came on board) through the years I have been with ACES. I hope you get to meet some of these wonderful people at ACES.