HSA offers new service to neurodiverse community
The Cayman Islands Health Service Authority (HSA) will be providing applied behavioural analysis (ABA), a new service offered at the Department of Behavioural Health, to neurodiverse members of the community.
ABA aims to complete a multidisciplinary collaborative approach to other services already provided by the HSA and will be delivered by Samantha Sharpe, the first Caymanian Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).
“This comprehensive programme will focus on parent/caregiver training to empower, enable and provide them with skills to better support and understand their children,” said Mrs Sharpe. “We will also be facilitating individualized and direct ABA therapy for children to decrease problem behaviours such as tantrums, aggression, noncompliance etc. and build on increasing skill acquisition in all domains of life, such as but not limited to communication, academic, self-help/daily living skills and socials skills.”
The ABA service long-term goal is to support individuals to prepare for inclusive environments such as general education school placement, community outings, workplace readiness and independent living. Due to highly individualized treatment, there is continued effort to maintain ongoing support, as well as promote and provide a culture of lifelong learning, independent functioning and a community of acceptance.
“We know that early, evidence-based treatment helps children make the greatest gains possible, therefore we strive to ensure that families in Cayman have local access to high-quality behavioural health services and expert care,” explained Head of Department of Behavioural Health, Dr Arline McGill. “We are excited to welcome Mrs Sharpe to our team. Her expertise allows us to offer this new service making it easier for families of neurodiverse individuals to find help when they need it.”
Samantha Sharpe (nee Sampang-McCoy) is the first Caymanian to earn her BCBA credentials. She earned a Master of Education in Special Education and Applied Behaviour Analysis at Endicott College. As a BCBA, she assesses and creates ABA programmes including lessons and behaviour plans. Services also include supervising Registered Behavior Technicians and providing parent/caregiver/teacher training. She has experience in the field of ABA in various settings such as in clinics, homes, schools and communities with diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders levels 1-3, mild intellectual disabilities, delays in speech and problem behaviours.
Submitted by: Health Services Authority (HSA)