CentralReach acquires SILAS to reach more children with autism

Steven Loeb · February 9, 2024 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/57f9

SILAS' Social and Emotional Learning platform will combine with CentralReach's software platform

Today, 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and 1 in 10 with a developmental disability. That’s millions of children, yet there are only roughly 65,000 board certified behavior analysts to deliver care and 65% of schools report they are understaffed in special education. These kinds of numbers lead to months-long waitlists in the therapy setting and missed services in the schools. 

"There’s a great deal of information out there that shows if children can get access to therapy and school services early, the more positive outcomes they are likely to have, Karen Parisi, Chief Marketing Officer at CentralReach, a platform that helps children and adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), told VatorNews.

"However, as with most healthcare industries, there is a capacity constraint in the number of therapy providers and special education teachers available to deliver care in the home setting or special education services in schools."

There are also several social barriers that children ASD and IDD face, with more than 60% of children with autism experiencing bullying. This is where Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and executive functioning skills become critical for students to learn as it can help them navigate these challenges more effectively.

CentralReach is looking to expand its capabilities in this area, so it announced on Friday the acquisition of SILAS, an SEL and behavior solution for PreK-12 general, special, and transition vocational education programs. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

Going forward, SILAS will continue to operate, while its technology is incorporated into CentralReach’s suite of education solutions, including ABLLS-R|AFLS digital assessments, IEP management and student rostering, data collection, parent training and professional development tools

"This will extending the reach of CentralReach’s market-leading education platform through an interactive app delivering social, emotional, executive functioning and vocational curricula," Parisi explained.

Meanwhile, SILAS’ CEO Chris Dudick and Margret Wax Hurwitz will be joining CentralReach and continuing to lead efforts to expand SILAS footprint within the US.

Founded in 2012, CentralReach provides technology that enables the entire care team, including parents, clinicians, special educators, employers, and even the learners themselves, to focus on intervention, support, caring for, and helping the autism and IDD community.

CentralReach has three solutions, the first being the Autism and IDD Care Platform for Therapy Providers, which manages the entire end-to-end operations of clinical care delivery including practice management, clinical data collection, managed billing, learning management, automated scheduling, advanced analytics, assistive technology, and outcomes-based assessments and curricula.

The second solution is the Autism and IDD Care Platform for Education, which manages the delivery of SEL, executive function, assessment tracking, IEP goal management, data collection, parent training and assisted technology, and advanced analytics.

The third is the Autism and IDD Care Platform for Employment and Adult Services, which is designed to support individuals with an IDD at work and daily living, from initial assessment and goal setting to one-to-one skills training and much more. The platform can also be used as a benefit that organizations provide to employees who have children on the spectrum.

In the therapy setting a practice would use the CentralReach platform to deliver care from intaking a new client, getting them scheduled for services, delivering those services, and then billing for those services.

"Of course, much more to it than that, but it covers the end-to-end workflow of a therapy provider delivering applied behavior analysis, speech, occupational, and related therapies," Parisi explained. 

SILAS, meanwhile, offers research and evidenced-based, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)-aligned screening solutions to measure students’ abilities, SEL programs for all tiers with CASEL-aligned lessons, applied behavior analysis-based instruction tools, executive functioning solutions, and transitional vocational solutions.

With the use of proprietary assessments, SILAS allows for the customization of learning plans specific to each student and accelerates reinforcement and retention of those skills through an interactive, animated app that allows students to make bespoke animated videos tied to each lesson.

"Thanks to the software’s gamification features, SILAS has helped schools unlock the potential of SEL programs by accelerating student understanding and outcomes, far exceeding administrators’ and teachers’ expectations," Parisi said.

CentralReach currently serves 175,000 users, while Silas adds over 40 school districts to its customer base while also allowing CentralReach to reach more schools across the U.S. by combining SILAS' SEL solution with its EDU platform.

In addition to SILAS, CentralReach offers solutions for special education including its ABLLS-R | AFLS CR Assessments product, which is used by over 300 school districts to help teachers assess students on over 2,400 skills.

"This acquisition has been something we were considering for a while. Unlocking the power of SEL for this generation of children will have exponential impacts on our society as a whole. Integrating it with our platform gives schools the suite of software solutions they need to empower not only their students with autism and related IDDs but also their general education students who need support with SEL," said Parisi.

"There is also a demand for SEL in the therapy provider space with clinicians wanting to teach caregivers the basics on SEL and how those caregivers can help their children learn at home."

(Image source: centralreach.com)

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