By Michelle Mastro
Apara Autism Centers create functional changes in the lives of children with Autism and their families. Through ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Therapy, Apara’s team of Board Certified Behavior Analysts provide individualized therapy. At the same time, Apara prepares parents and caregivers by teaching ABA principles. Believing in its mission and steering Apara’s team are all accomplished women in leadership.
Chief Clinical Officer, Amanda L. S. Smith, M.S., BCBA, LBA, sees to Apara’s mission to support children and families through ABA. At Auburn University, Amanda took an ABA 101 course where she assisted in an ABA inclusion preschool. “On the first day at this school in Auburn, Alabama, there was a tornado warning. As we sat in a hallway, I watched the director calm down a child. I thought to myself, ‘How was she able to do this? I want to learn how to do that.’ From that moment, I knew I wanted to help this little boy and others like him.”
Amanda, like many at Apara, worked in ABA for years. After Auburn, she made her way to the May Institute. Later, she eventually returned to Houston and joined The Harris Center’s ABA-SkIP team. Through the DARS Autism Program grant, she worked with kids who otherwise could not have afforded ABA services.
“Apara means to go on a long journey influenced by information and data. And that’s basically what ABA is. We are working with individuals using the data we gain every day to navigate where we go next,” she says. “ABA is an evidenced based treatment centered in the principles of reinforcement. Our goal isn’t to change the individual, but to help make their lives better through lasting change and independence.”
Lauren Schwass, M.S., BCBA, LBA, the Clinic Director of Apara Memorial endorses ABA therapies. “Once I saw how effective ABA is in teaching a variety of skills, it was clear to me that this was the best method.” Lauren, whose sister was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, was drawn to Apara for its family-oriented approach and mission to provide a compassionate environment.
The Clinic Director of Apara’s Katy location, Susanna C. Riley, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA, also sees her work at Apara in terms of providing excellent service. “I want to truly listen to family needs so I can provide the most individualized care. I have found that getting creative, while always continuing to utilize evidence-based practices, we can make an even bigger difference.”
Amberly Bossert, M.S., BCBA, LBA the Clinic Director of Apara’s Sugar Land location, was drawn to Apara for many reasons, including the family centered approach to treatment and utilization of the science of ABA therapy. “I love seeing all of our clients succeed in every aspect of their lives, from functional communication to social skills and self-management of behaviors.”
Amanda hopes to expand Apara’s extracurriculars. “I really want to provide a safe place for those types of activities,” she says. In the coming year, Amanda says Apara will grow more locations and include further clinical expansions. “We are really thankful that we have the ability to keep helping our families.”
1050 N Post Oak Rd. Suite 160
Houston, TX 77055
2051 Greenhouse Rd. Suite 160
Houston, TX 77084
6914 Brisbane Court, Suite 200
Sugar Land, Texas 77479
12711 Telge Road
Cypress, Texas 77429
Opening August 2021
4710 Bellaire Blvd
Bellaire, Texas 77401
Opening November 2021