Smita Awasthi was an NRI and frequently visited India for consultations to assist parents in Kolkata, Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Bangalore and hold workshops on invitations from various NGO’s. ABA intervention was being understood as a positive intervention to train children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She was the first person in India with all professional qualifications having studied ABA, and immense practical experience in the application of ABA. She finally shifted her base to India and formed BMI.
BMI set up its first intervention center at Bangalore in 2010. The model followed at BMI was to have one trainer per child and included intensive training of 25 hours per week as per international bench mark. Technology transfer included supervision and constant training as per global standards.
The intensive behavioral intervention program was received well by parents with children showing quite a bit of improvement. BMI’s focus on quality & commitment to individualized programming spread the word and mounted immense pressure on BMI to expand its services. With no ABA education existing in India finding ABA trained staff posed immense difficulties. BMI started training fresh graduates to make them ABA para-professionals. The process is continuously on.
The constant demand for enrollment fuelled the growth of BMI from a 15 person organization, serving 20 children to 150 plus para-professionals handling over 200 children across India. In the last two years BMI opened six centers at - Bangalore, Delhi, Noida, Lucknow Kolkata and Mumbai. Today BMI caters to families, who have relocated not only from other states of India, but also from places abroad like UK, USA, Maldives, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Nigeria etc.
It was a herculean effort for Smita Awasthi to create a pool of resources, who had to be trained in-house as India did not have any ABA learning facility. BMI now has its own systems and processes, which are being constantly improved upon. BMI owes its growth and success to its parents, whose testimony and referrals created a steady demand for quality services not only in India, but also overseas.
BMI Technical Approach
In the world every person is unique. At BMI we understand that every student’s individual differences. That’s why we customize each program and teaching procedure as per the child’s need based on the principle of Applied Behavior Analysis. Teaching at BMI is structured around various domain areas as needed to support a child on the autism spectrum. The highly individualized IEP’s address the student’s complex behavioural, social and educational needs.
BMI follows cutting edge technology and latest evidence based techniques using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which includes Skinner’s Verbal Behavior approach to teach children. BMI Directors attend International conferences every year to keep up-to-date with latest behavior analytic practices to plan language programs, behavior modification plans and teaching procedures.
Success at BMI is based on our programs which are designed by highly skilled and certified Behavior Analysts. Individualized child specific training is provided to each staff member working with the child. Considering there is no ABA education in India, the para-professionals are trained and constantly supervised to ensure they follow instructions and work only under the guidance of those approved by BMI Technical Directors.
To impart high quality individualized therapy all teaching at BMI is 1:1. As the child progresses group programs are added or recommended. All teaching is done so as to generalize learning across people and settings.
Like a true ABA organization there is intensive data taken at BMI on all aspects of learning. The data is used to take decisions, make changes, modify programs, monitor learning. Behavior study and modifications are also data based. Progress in the child is tracked continuously, as well as through periodic assessments based on the VB-MAPP. Guidance is given to parents to pursue the methods followed at BMI.
As the practice of behavior analysis is ALWAYS done under Certified ABA professionals. BMI as a pioneering center in India, has a hierarchical system of monitoring para-professionals who work with children. All para-professional trainers are trained in-house by the team of BCBA’s. They are further supervised routinely by either a BCBA / BCaBA or senior trainer.
All Programs: Language, Behavioral, Social, Academic, Adaptive, Group and Play are supervised by Smita Awasthi, PhD Candidate, BCBA, or Julianne Bell, M.S, BCBA.
Various research based instruction methods are used to teach ex: video modeling, transfer trials, visual schedules, DTT & Natural Environment Training (NET).
BMI Technical Team: BMI is the only ABA organization in India with 3 BCBA's (Smita Awasthi, Julianne Bell, Sridhar Aravamudhan), & 8 ABA Professionals mentoring under BCBA's.
At BMI everything revolves around the child. Close collaboration between the parent and BMI ensures that the child’s potential is unlocked so the child can grow to his maximum potential.