2015: Ana Barkaia

James Madison University

SABA supported the initiation and development of ABA services in the nation of Georgia (Sakartvelo) through a 1999 International Development Grant to Dr. Barry Parsonson and Dr. JaneMary Castelfranc-Allen from New Zealand. This support was used to develop a curriculum and the first Georgian language ABA books. Drs. Parsonson and Castelfranc-Allen also established the NGO Children of Georgia in the capital, Tbilisi, where ABA services for children with developmental disabilities have been improving gradually.


Even with these improvements, there are no ABA services in the regions outside of Tbilisi. There is no understanding or appreciation that ABA may significantly enhance children's development and learning and also have a positive effect on family life. Therefore, the goal of this project is to pilot high-quality ABA services for children with special needs in western Georgia. The project has the following objectives: to train specialists in ABA techniques in schools in a rural part of the country; to establish distance consultation services between the NGO, which is the lead service agency, and schools; and to establish distance consultation services between trained teachers and other specialists and parents in the region.


First, one week of training will be implemented for teachers working with children with special needs in rural schools, during which they will learn basic ABA principles and techniques. After this training their work will be observed, coached, and supervised once a week by Children of Georgia specialists through telehealth consultation. In addition, once a month a discussion meeting will be conducted via telehealth. Trainings and supervision sessions will last six months and will include consultations with Dr. Trevor Stokes. After teachers are trained and supervised they will start to train and supervise and consult with other specialists and parents of special needs children in the region.


After implementation of this project, the region will have well-trained specialists to provide ABA services for special needs children. Distance consultation will serve as a model for improving services and will initiate the delivery of ABA to other underserved areas.


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