Lt. Gov. Brian Calley participated in Friday’s dedication of NMU’s Behavior Education Assessment and Research (BEAR) Center. The facility provides free behavior analytic assessment and therapeutic services for children with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities and other behavioral concerns. Calley, whose daughter has been diagnosed with ASD, championed autism insurance reform in 2012 and signed legislation to officially license applied behavioral analysts in Michigan early this year.
The BEAR Center addresses the regional shortage of related services and serves as a training site for NMU students pursuing a degree or certification in applied behavior analysis. ABA is widely recognized as the safest and most evidence-based therapeutic approach. It helps individuals improve their social, verbal, motor and reasoning skills. ABA approaches also help to decrease maladaptive behaviors such as tantrums, aggression and self-injury.
“The change my family experienced after my daughter had access to ABA was significant—even more so than my transition from banker to attorney general,” Calley said. “This center provides ABA therapy, which is incredibly important and desperately needed here, with education and research components built around it. That trifecta will produce the best results. It will increase the pipeline of talent for the future and the number of kids who can be served. The BEAR Center is a huge step for the Upper Peninsula.”
President Fritz Erickson and Board of Trustees Chair Scott Holman, along with Adam Prus and Jacob Daar from the Psychological Science Department, also delivered comments. The dedication was followed by an open house to introduce area families to the services provided.