Crystal Academy Services

The most modern methods of ABA

Behavior therapy is commonly misunderstood to be the correction of inappropriate behaviors. While that is certainly one of the functions of Behavior therapy it is far more comprehensive. Simply put, throughout the history of psychology, a wealth of knowledge has been accumulated about appropriate behavioral development of neuro-typical children. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) takes those normal developmental steps and arranges them hierarchically in related groups like Imitation, Expressive Language, and Receptive language. Each child is tested starting at the bottom or first developmental stage of each category so that their lowest point of failure is found. A profile is created and therapy begins taking that child up through the normal cycle of development mastering each task as they proceed. Rather than simply trying to teach the child to function as close to their chronological age and skipping critical developmental steps, ABA builds a complete foundation of behavioral development.


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the empirically-validated therapy of choice that is used to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The scientific principles that support ABA allow its practitioners to help increase other people’s abilities to communicate and socialize with others, follow instructions, attain independence with daily living tasks, reduce unwanted or problematic behaviors, and reduce gaps in fundamental skills.

By helping to increase these fundamental skills and socially-desirable behaviors, ABA practitioners seek to elevate the capabilities of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in order to enable them to live their lives as independently as they possibly can.


At Crystal Academy we use the most modern methods of ABA crafted around the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP). We believe though that connection with the child is the most critical facet of development so every opportunity to break out of the standard therapy regime and focus on an unexpected connection opportunity presented by the child is fully explored. Unlike many behavioral facilities, we believe that our job is not the take the child out of Autism by forcing them to behave like us but rather to meet them in their space and lead them out. These “Incidental Teaching Moments” are the most powerful tools to that end.

Crystal Academy employs a full, dedicated and loving staff of certified ABA practitioners, including three Board Certified Behavior Analysts, one Board Certified assistant Behavior Analyst, and a number of qualified Behavior Technicians. Our mission is to work together as a team in order to help your loved ones grow and achieve the very best life, social and intellectual skills that they can attain.

Communication is paramount in the development of delayed children

Communication is the cornerstone of connecting and building relationships. It is a fundamental need to develop communication skills for all children. At CA we believe in providing our students with strategies and support to be able to develop functional and successful communication.

We have therapists trained in PECS, sign language, Augmentative Communication devices and Verbal Tactile Cueing systems such as PROMPT, and the Fast Forward reading system. Our goal is to provide all modalities of communication that will benefit each unique child and promote their ability to communicate.

At Crystal Academy we consider communication to be paramount in the development of delayed children. The complementary overlap of Speech Pathology and Behavior Therapy is integral to our communication enhancement strategy. Our head of Speech is both fully certified Speech Pathologist with over a decade of service as well as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and all Speech providers enjoy maintaining at least basic Behavior Therapy competence and engagement.

Pediatric Occupational Therapy addresses fine motor and gross motor coordination

The overarching goal of Occupational Therapy (OT) is to improve a child’s general functioning in daily living skills in order to attain the highest possible level of age appropriate independence. Pediatric Occupational Therapy addresses fine motor and gross motor coordination, sensory integration, and the attainment of physical developmental milestones.

When primitive processes govern the functioning of the central nervous system (CNS), the brain is not able to function at its greatest potential. An in-depth Neuro-Developmental (ND) evaluation can uncover evidence of primitive CNS functioning and an intensive individualized ND program can be developed to stimulate brain maturation.

Our ND program is based on the INPP method and the premise of neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to change or “re-wire”, whereby stimulating the brain via intensive individualized developmentally appropriate intervention can to lead to improvements in processing.

A healthy and stable neurological foundation on which to build age appropriate skills is essential for every child to reach their potential in all areas of function (cognitive, behavioral, motor, speech).

Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or related disabilities will benefit from OT and ND to increase self regulation, functionality, attention, developmentally appropriate skills, and independence.

The academic sessions are an infusion of core subjects and learning functional classroom behaviors.

Crystal Academy provides a holistic education for children on the Autism spectrum or expressing other developmental delays. We offer lessons that follow Common Core Florida Standards but are delivered using a combination of standard academic and Behavior therapy methodologies depending on the child’s optimal learning environment.

Each student is given modified instruction individualized to that child’s strengths and development needs based on their intellectual, emotional, physical and social condition. The academic sessions are an infusion of core subjects and learning functional classroom behaviors. Students are taught individually but are  as  often  as  optimal  strategically  grouped  by  skill  level

and in a manner that is conducive to socially appropriate group work. Apart from content, students are taught social, thinking, study, problem solving, and memory skills, as well as self regulation and shared attention. Lesson delivery is designed to suit the child’s best learning method using a combination of visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile approaches.

Physical therapy gives children with ASD a deep-rooted sense of self, self-confidence, and connection with their environment and the people in it.

The role of physical therapy in the life of a child with ASD is to unlock the efficiency of the mechanism we call our bodies.

It is through physical therapy that children with ASD learn to use and modulate their sensory and motor processing systems through gross motor play involving movement, proprioceptive and kinesthetic body awareness, reflex inhibition exercises, touch and connection, oral motor stimulation, visual motor hand eye/foot coordination, bilateral coordination, motor planning, and auditory stimulation with music.

Physical therapy gives a child with ASD the neurological foundation skills necessary to allow for a significant rate of progress in occupational, speech and language and behavior therapy. Moreover, physical therapy gives children with ASD a deep rooted sense of self, self confidence and connection with their environment and the people in it.

At Crystal Academy the physical therapy provided uses a neurological specialized approach to gross motor skill development involving sensory integration, reflex inhibition exercises, myofacial release, NDT, PNF and cranial sacral therapy. In addition, the physical therapists are trained and use methods of positive psychology to promote a child’s inner well being and self confidence as a relationship between therapist and child is developed while working towards improving independence in gross motor skill development.                                                        Isabel Lara, MS, PT

Music is a multi-sensory stimuli promoting neurological and cognitive organization

Music therapy is the use of music-based interventions to address individualized, therapeutic goals. Music therapy is a well-established allied health profession, backed by years of research; thus, producing evidence-based interventions. As a therapy, Music is a multi-sensory stimuli promoting neurological and cognitive organization and promoting communication and movement coordination.

At CRYSTAL ACADEMY our specific goals for Music therapy are improved communication skills, behavior modification, sensory organization and coordination, motor skills, cognitive skills, and social and emotional development.

And not least of all, Music is fun!

Art as therapy is a modality through which relevant areas of creative deficiency are confronted.

Art as therapy uses a ‘triangle’ to spark ingenuity and significance within a child’s life. There is a three-part relationship between the child, the art, and the therapist. The ideal goal is to guide the child to lead the session and wait for the art project to provide a spontaneous yet meaningful teachable moment.

Art making in Art as therapy is a modality through which relevant areas of creative deficiency are confronted. The product of what is made in a session itself is not as important as the experience for the child. Through art therapy the goals include gathering self-discovery, imaginative experimentation, tactile tolerance, and novel exposure to products and processes that are often looked past in daily life.

Art as therapy has many beneficial facets including targeting imagination, abstract thinking, sensory regulation, self-expression of emotions, developmental growth, visual-spatial skills, and teaching appropriate recreation/leisure skills.

Recreational sports programs are the easiest way to keep children interested and involved in physical activity.

With the overall focus and emphasis being placed on a child being able to function appropriately and properly, the simple nature and vital need of a child to be physically active is often overlooked. Recreational sports programs are the easiest way to keep children interested and involved in physical activity. While recreational sports programs are readily available on a daily basis throughout the community, there are very few programs that offer the physical activity component while providing a suitable level of support for the precise developmental needs of children diagnosed with Autism or related disabilities.

CRYSTAL ACADEMY addresses this issue by customizing various athletic programs to provide physical activity while supporting the development targeted.

Parent Training

Parent training in the home is highly encouraged. Our BCBA’s goal is to help teach and guide the parents to better assist their children in the home to decrease problem behaviors and increase independence and success in all aspects of the home. Each training and home plan is devised from the collaboration of our BCBA and the caregivers. We also encourage all family members involved in your child’s life, to participate in the training of ABA methods specific to your child and family needs. This training will allow for carryover and generalization of skills. From experience and research, having all those involved in your child’s life participate in training leads to maximum success.

IEP & School Support

Our behavior analysts (BCBA) and therapists at Crystal Academy provide school support for children and their parents attending public schools and other private schools. Classroom observations are offered at any time in the school year to increase student independence and decrease problem behaviors that may be occurring. Continuity is our main goal. The BCBA that oversees your child’s program is also available to attend IEP meetings and parent/teacher conferences to contribute to goal selection. In addition, they are there to provide support for parents when making placement decisions.