Forest Welcomes New Faculty Member and Program Director

Forest is pleased to announce the arrival and appointment of Dr. Michele Williams as the Director of the Applied Behavior Analysis Program.

Dr. Williams joins Forest from Missouri State University, where she served as a Senior Psychology Instructor.

She received her PhD in Psychology at West Virginia University in 1996; her specialization was the experimental analysis of behavior, specifically the areas of response acquisition with delayed reinforcement and the side effects of punishment. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Mercer University-Southern School of Pharmacy in 1997.

She has worked as a Behavior Analyst at The Childhood Learning Center where she designed, implemented, and trained therapists for ABA programs for young children with autism and related disorders.

Dr. Williams has professional memberships in the Missouri Association for Behavior Analysis and International Association for Behavior Analysis.

Dr. Williams’ arrival at Forest is due in part to the new ABA programs she will oversee.

"I’m looking forward to getting the word out about these new programs,” said Dr. Williams. "I know enrollment will accelerate as soon as everyone realizes why they need the certification and that Forest has it.”

Forest is the first in the state to offer a master’s degree for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and the first to offer the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® Certificate Program.

Missouri’s new autism insurance law, which went into effect on January 1, 2011, requires insurance coverage for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). This coverage includes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy provided by a behavior analyst or assistant behavior analyst certified, or licensed, in the state of Missouri.

The certification will also have a significant impact on families dealing with ASDs in Southwest Missouri as it will result in more service providers.

Forest is launching the both ABA programs at the main Springfield campus and at the St. Louis site.