December 20, 2022

During a December 5 school committee meeting, Westfield Public Schools Special Education Director Debra Ecker and James O’Neill, lead manager of autism, social-emotional and behavioral services for the school system, shared an update on how the staffing shortage has created challenges for the district in delivering special education services, and how the ACE® ABA Software System has helped assuage them.

In an article by Amy Porter, which was published on, Ecker and O’Neill gave a presentation on Westfield’s wide array of special education programs and the growing number of students seeking those programs. In the article, Ecker and O’Neill are quoted as saying that their efforts to hire more BCBAs and RBTs have been impeded by a staffing shortage. They noted that it is hard to increase their standards in ABA practice with such limited resources.

However, despite the challenges, the article shares that WPS is improving its curriculum. One of the ways in which they are doing so is through implementing the ACE®. Below is an excerpt from the article:

“It’s a more efficient way to provide programs.” He said ACE does ongoing assessments of the student’s work and provides generated recommended programs. It also automatically graphs behavior, taking some of the clerical load off of teachers, and is accessible as students transition from one building to another more efficiently.

“We started [using ACE] with autism spectrum disorder students, but more students have benefitted from it, and we are now expanding its use to developmental learning programs, and to some students in the Essential Learning Skills program,” he said.