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Spotlight: Proven Behavior Solutions

Name: Scott Snider
Email: spsnider@provenaba.com
Phone: (781) 290-3886

Website: http://www.provenaba.com/

Give a brief description of your business. What product(s) or service do you provide, and what sets you apart from others?
We at Proven Behavior Solutions are a group of specialized professionals committed to improving the lives of children and adolescents affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the South Shore & Upper Cape Cod regions of Massachusetts. Headquartered in Norwell, our clinical team is made up of highly experienced Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBTs), proficient in using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to change the lives of individuals with ASD and their families.

What sets us apart most is our expertise. We have the most experienced team of BCBAs in the South Shore and we provide what I strongly believe to be the most training out of any agency in Southeastern Massachusetts. We also are a very locally-focused company. Our service area is specifically the South Shore and Upper Cape. Not only do our clients come from our local community, but so do our staff. Unlike some other agencies, we won’t take clients all over the state–stretching lines of communication and making it very difficult to adequately support both staff and clients. Our focus is here, improving the lives of our community members in the towns we live.

How long have you been in business, and how did you get involved in this business?
We incorporated in November 2016, but we hit our 2-year anniversary of actually working with clients this month! It’s been a rollercoaster!

My oldest niece has Autism and was the inspiration for my wife and co-owner, Lindsey, to get in the field of Behavior Analysis over a decade ago. While I was on Active Duty in the Air Force, Lindsey worked in this field wherever we were stationed, including overseas in the UK. This afforded us many looks at the good/bad of a variety of business models in this industry, so when we decided to leap into business ourselves we already had a number of best practices to implement.

The tipping point that drove us into business happened shortly after moving back to the South Shore in 2015. Lindsey had started working as an independent contractor for an agency near the Cape and we wound up reporting them for insurance fraud and other abuses. Having been away from home for over 16 years, I didn’t realize what the services landscape was like for families in the South Shore & Cape Cod until this horrible experience lifted the veil. Lindsey and I looked at what was happening, realized that there weren’t enough ABA providers to service the needs of the Autism community, and most of the agencies that existed didn’t meet our expectations for quality. As a military officer, I was trained that if you see a problem, you don’t leave it for someone else to deal with–you solve it, or find someone who can. As a fighter pilot, I was trained that you don’t just solve problems–you crush them. This attitude has served us well because this work is too important for us to fail.

How many employees do you have?
21 Full-Time, 36 Part-Time

What do you want people to know about you and/or your business?
“Autism is our expertise. Changing lives is our passion.” It’s more than just a mission statement.

Our caseloads are purposefully kept small to enable our BCBAs to provide the intensive support that research demonstrates is necessary to achieve lasting positive outcomes for children with Autism. This means that we often have a waitlist for services, or periodically aren’t able to take on additional clients. That said, we are always happy to be a resource and sounding board for parents, educators, and community members. Even if we can’t service a family directly, we will help point them towards resources and other providers that may be helpful. Additionally, we have recently hired an LICSW that will help provide care coordination, group parent training and counseling, and we have plans to add a Speech Therapy component later this year.

What are some of the pitfalls one faces when owning one’s own business?
All those stories you hear about small business owners having to work extremely hard, often 7 days a week, 365 days a year, just to keep their young businesses afloat? 100% true. Also, it’s easy to become isolated from family and friends because there is always something to work on, some fire to put out. You have to be able to prioritize effectively, make compromises, and learn quickly from your mistakes.

What is the best business advice you’ve received during your career?
Never pass up the opportunity to keep your mouth shut and listen.

Do you have a business mentor? If so, who is it? and why.
My father, Mark Snider. He started his first business when he was 36 and then, in 1995, he and my step-mother, Kristal Snider started the very successful Electronic Resellers Association International (ERAI), which is a global watchdog for the computer chip industry. He did all of this with a GED courtesy of the US Army and no other formal education, just grit and common sense. Seeing how he and my step-mother work as a leadership team for their company, dividing up duties and leveraging their strengths to complement each other’s weaknesses, has been an invaluable example for me and my wife.

How has your business been affected by the current economy?
It really hasn’t… yet. The insurance mandate that was passed by the state legislature in 2010 requiring that commercial insurers cover ABA therapy has allowed a tremendous amount of access to care for families in Massachusetts. While the insurance-funded model isn’t perfect, all the major insurers are actively trying to adapt to the unique needs of the Autism community. The problem, however, is that increasing healthcare costs may result in decreasing payments to healthcare providers and caps on access to different types of services. We’re watching this closely.

Tell us an inspirational or humorous story about your business?
We had an older Elementary School-aged client that had very significant challenges. The family was repeatedly told by the school specialists that this client would never be able to communicate and would be very unlikely to have any means of independence. Within only five months my team had this client asking for things using an iPad, showering, and toilet-trained.

If you could go back in time, would you change anything?
I would have prioritized more time with my kids. I’ve learned from it and have found a better balance now, but I’ll never get that missed time back.