The Role of the Program Specialist

A Program Specialist, also known as autism specialists or applied behavioral analysts, ensure that the services outlined in the individual support plans are executed upon and within compliance. They serve as the liaison between the individual receiving care, their families/caregivers, physicians and internal and external agencies.

As outlined in PA Chapter 6400 the role of the program specialist is to navigate care services needed to advance and educate the individual to live a healthy, independent life in their home. In addition to advocating for the individual, the program specialist develops:

* Individual assessments,
* Support plans,
* Specifically tailored educational programs,
* Treatment plans,
* Incidence reports, and
* Progress evaluations.

Additionally, the program specialist ensures all services are within regulation, maintaining proper reporting and documentation. They set up the training and certification plans required for the direct care professionals, while also coordinating their schedules and team meetings. Program specialists are part of an interdisciplinary team observing autism patients, reviewing data and progress and ensuring consistency.

They consult with physicians and social services agencies to ensure that these individuals receive the proper medical and social services to remain healthy and independent.

Besides patience, compassion, dedication, and a desire to help, program specialists hold a bachelors degree in behavior analysis, psychology or a mental health related field, such as social work or human services. Advanced degrees and appropriate level education and experience are considered for certification from the Behavioral Analysis Certification Board.

**Holding It All Together**

A program specialist works with several care cases at a time, juggling the proper documentation and reporting required by law to receive the funding for the administered care. Any deviation from this tight hold on each individual care service can result in a catastrophic failure for the individual in need, their families, and ultimately the agency.

Since a great deal of time is spent outside an office, the program specialist needs proper organization to maintain stringent recordkeeping, documentation, and reports for each care case. Imagine the paperwork! There’s a high chance for errors and omissions.

**Optonome Holds the Solution**

Optonome is designed to provide your agency with a mobile communications, training and administration platform to save you time and money. The platform is compliant with all federal and state regulations and reporting requirements, which are maintained for you. The mobile capability allows you to maintain your data online and easily access your reports when necessary. Optonome can help you optimize your time while you focus on the most important part of your business – participant care.

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