Pair of staff receive new certifications at Kelberman Center


UTICA — The Kelberman Center has announced new certifications for two clinical team members, Justine Bankert, MS, lead board certified behavior analyst, ABA Clinic; and Deborah Staley, MA, board certified behavior analyst, school consultation.

With backgrounds rooted in Applied Behavioral Analysis, the team at the Kelberman Center works primarily in school consultation, providing behavior support for individual students, classrooms, faculty and staff for districts across the Central New York region. BCBAs collaborate with school psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, social workers, administrators, faculty, staff and parents to address the behavioral needs of students facing a wide range of challenges. 

Applied Behavior Analysis is an evidence-based practice grounded in the science of learning. Research demonstrates the efficacy of ABA in decreasing challenging behavior, as well as increasing communication, socialization and independent learning skills in children.

The program begins with a thorough assessment of skills across domains — such as communication, imitation and social skills — after which an individualized program plan is developed. Treatment begins in the clinic setting, utilizing multiple practitioners to accomplish a combination of one-on-one, group, and parent sessions.

Credentialed providers provide direct instruction several hours per week utilizing the methods of applied behavior analysis. Ongoing programming is monitored and driven by the client’s progress, as measured by daily data and monthly evaluations/reporting, with the goal of generalizing skills across people and environments, including home, school, and other relevant settings. Practitioners also provide parent training at the Kelberman Center clinic and in home settings.

“Both Justine and Deborah bring years of professional experience and expertise to the Kelberman Center ABA Clinic and in school consultations, in addition to the other licensed and exceptional staff in the program,” said Tara Costello, executive director of the Kelberman Center. “Their knowledge in the ABA field and in school consultations and relationships with children, school staff and parents is unparalleled and is what has helped to create a renowned and life-changing program here at the Kelberman Center.”    

The Kelberman Center provides autism services for children, adults and families in the Mohawk Valley and Central New York. It offers comprehensive programming and services for people throughout all phases of life, from early childhood through adulthood, including: Home and Community Based, Educational, Clinical, Residential and Recreation and Camp.

“Our goal is to meet people and families where they are in life and to support them every step of the way on their journeys navigating autism,” the agency announcement says. “The expert staff at The Kelberman Center empower the people we support with specialized, one-of-a-kind programs, resources, support and wrap-around services, creating a fulfilling, life-enriching experience for people and families.”

For more information on ABA services or The Kelberman Center Clinic, email


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