Regional Center for Autism
In 2010, the Albanian Children Foundation (ACF) established a center for children with autism in Farka, Albania. The Regional Center for Autism (RCA), one of the biggest centers for children with autism in the Balkans, serves as a model of the diagnosis and treatment of autism for other parts of the region. This national center serves families across Albania and also supports regional development through the Southeast European Autism Network (SEAN), which Autism Speaks launched with ACF and the Albanian Ministry of Health in 2010. The center delivers early intervention services based on the principles and methods of applied behavior analysis, as well as diagnostic services by trained multidisciplinary teams.
Grant funds were used to establish a collection of behavior analytic textbooks and training resources at the center, to support staff as they pursue the Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) credential. Staff will have direct access to the materials, allowing for maximum impact on the education of professionals in the newly emerging behavior analytic community.
The long-term impact of this grant will be dissemination and advancement of research, education, and practice of behavior analysis in Albania, thereby expanding access to and improving the quality of behavior analytic services for children and families affected by autism. Credentialing staff who work directly 1:1 with the children will strengthen the integrity of the application of applied behavior analysis principles. Currently, ACF is laying the foundation to establish necessary capacities for this model, which, after being consolidated, will be spread within the country and region. Therefore, it will be especially important to establish high-quality standards for all levels of treatment providers. This project provides a significant opportunity to promote the RBT credential and behavior analysis on a much larger scale, through SEAN.
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