Alpine ABA Community and Learning Center

What is the Alpine ABA Community and Learning Center?

A membership-based community and learning center that utilizes the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) to build a range of useful skills for individuals aged 14 through adulthood using principles of ABA. Services will support learning across the following domains: career path, self-advocacy, health and safety, communication, social skills, community access and participation, and leisure/recreation.

How did Alpine ABA come about?

It is a personal passion of mine, Lesha Rasco, to increase opportunities for meaningful connections and learning for individuals who struggle with connecting and learning in a typical fashion. With the help of Jann and Chuck Perkins, our awesome landlords, I have been able to turn my vision into reality at this beautiful location in the former Alpine Shop of South Burlington. With the mentorship of David Powsner and Sd Associate colleagues, we have created a marriage between community and learning using the therapy of ABA.

What is ABA, and how does Alpine implement it?

ABA is the science of human behavior, a framework for understanding how and why individuals behave the way they do by observing and analyzing how they interact with the world around them. That information is used, in turn, to identify individual needs and to design and evaluate teaching/learning strategies to build effective pro-social behavior desired by the individual. Behavior analysis is “applied” when used to enrich and improve the lives of people in need. ABA is an educative therapy; it’s all about learning.

All members will have access to instruction, environmental supports, and activities that embed both direct instruction and naturalistic learning opportunities to meet their individual goals. Throughout the course of membership, emphasis will be placed upon mastery, so that members can achieve increasing levels of independence in self-management.

What are some ways you will see, and experience ABA used in this natural environment?

  • Individualized established routines in a shared space.
  • Growth in communication skills across a range of communication modes, inclusively meeting the needs of individuals who are vocal-verbal, limitedly vocal-verbal, and non-speaking communicating through a variety of alternative modes. There will be an emphasis on the successful comprehension of communication by listeners.
  • Differentiation of levels of support within activities that will be systematically faded to teach increasing independence. 
  • Positive reinforcement for members will be aligned with individual preferences. 
  • Daily opportunities to work on techniques that can be used for increasing self-regulation and mediation of heightened arousal (i.e., learning to stay calm).
  • Ongoing and varied incidental learning opportunities to engage members.

What else do I need to know about membership?

Prior to joining, interested individuals will apply online and take an interest survey. After the application is received a tour and interview will be set up for the member. A tour can be set up before applying by emailing alpineadmin@sdplus.org

After the initial application and interview a membership plan that outlines membership goals and supports will be created and shared with the member along with additional membership paperwork. After receiving the signed membership plan and the membership paperwork. The membership will begin the first of the month preceding the submission of paperwork.  Although the member will be able to enjoy membership activities before the start of their monthly membership on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Membership involves a monthly fee to be paid at the beginning of each month. This fee is $415. To begin with, membership gives the individual access to the space and activities that occur during open hours, which will minimally be 30 hours a week to begin. The plan is in the future  to increase those hours and give membership access during non-active hours. 

If you are not sure about a monthly membership you can do a quarterly punch membership which is a punch card for 10 visits within that quarter. How this would work is you would purchase a Quarterly membership for $415.00. This would get you 10 visits that you can use in the 3 months. They would expire after the quarter ends. Quarters being January – March, March – May, June – August, Sept – Dec.

Members will have access, minimally, to 20 hours of group instruction a month, based on their goals, set forth in the initial intake process. They will be able to leisurely and socially attend the space at other times.

During open hours there will be minimally two full-time staff working to assist members with their needs. Members will only be able to have a support person with them if that need is identified in the assessment process If it is identified the member would pay an additional membership for a support staff to come with them ( this would be transferable to 2 people).  We ask that members wear a GPS watch or other location instrument if there is any concern by their family or team of them leaving and not being able to navigate independently outside the space.

Members will be given 1 guest pass a month to be able to invite someone to come with them. They will have to fill out a basic liability form.

Members and 1 additional person at their request would get access to our ongoing communication channel Cliq to ask questions to and communicate with the Alpine ABA staff.

To minimize distractions and noise, drop-offs and pick-ups will need to be as independent as possible. As a basic performance criterion, members will be expected to safely come in the door independently, put their lunches in the fridge and retrieve them, and use the bathroom without 1:1 assistance.

Are there add-ons and what is the level of professional resource?

1:1 ABA support for specific skills if recommended through the membership plan can be purchased and scheduled on a monthly basis using insurance funds or private pay.

Space rental for those engaging in vocational activities through their membership and or treatment goals.

All services will be overseen by Vermont licensed behavior analysts and masters-level educators.

What ongoing information will be available about membership activities?

At the end of each month a report for each member documenting time spent in independent activities, actively supported learning activities, and social activities. The report will also include an analysis and or summary of performance in membership goals. If additional ABA services are provided, a 6-month progress report will also be generated.

How is the center’s space arranged?

There are three main spaces: 

  1. An independent learning and break space (legos, puzzles, videos, headphones for music listening, reading, mediation, and independent engagement in special interests).
  2. An active and supported learning space where instructor-led group and 1:1 classes and collaboration take place. 
  3. A social space for eating and leisure activities with others (games, talking, crafts, and parallel or social engagement in special interests). 

There is an additional space upstairs for gross motor activities (currently not wheelchair accessible).

As members, you and your teams will be part of the evolution of the space and its activities. 

Membership Benefits

  • Membership plan that outlines goals for time at Alpine ABA and monthly or quarterly summary of goals.
  • Each member will receive 1 guest day pass per month.
  • Each member will receive access to our private messaging system called ‘Cliq’ (secure app-based chat) for both the member and any team member who assists them in daily planning. This can be used to communicate with Alpine staff and other members. Members will need their own email address and device to access this app.
  • Access to daily (M-F, 9:30am-4:30pm) to all the center has to offer, including (but not limited to): social activities, group trainings, exercise options, work spaces, and the quiet area (as needed).
  • A minimum of 20 hours of group instruction will be provided per month, and the member can choose to attend. Monthly activities listed on our event calendar
  • Special Evening activities as generated by the membership community.

Costs ( January 2024- June 2024).

  • The monthly membership: $415
  • Renting out the space on weekends/free evenings: $100 (for up to 4 hours – cleanup required by the member)
  • Rental Space for vocational materials or passion projects that you may want to keep at the space. $50 per month.
  • Direct ABA service is available and billed separately in increments of 5 hours of 1:1 per week overseen by BCBA.

Ready to move forward?
Apply for services / membership!