In 2005, Dr. Ajamu Nkosi and Dr. Mueller left a large ABA provider to start Southern Behavioral Group, in part, because they knew they could create a different model for doing business - one where the decisions at all levels of the company could be made by behavior analysts, not by distant, corporate suits. They created a company where the decisions to get involved, or not, were made first with respect to the help they could provide to the learner, not to billable hours or the “bottom line.” This was a novel concept 15 years ago. This new culture allowed them to expand and build a successful company providing ABA services to schools, families, and community organizations across the State of Georgia and the Southwest USA. Drs. Nkosi and Mueller continue to practice this science. They each maintain clinical caseloads conducting Functional Behavioral Assessment in Public Schools. Dr. Mueller serves as an expert witness in court cases and due process hearings to promote the accurate representation of ABA in legal matters. They both provide weekly supervision to a group of dedicated, intelligent BCBA®s, who challenge and push them professionally.
In 2009, they founded Stimulus Publications – initially to publish their book Behavior Analytic Consultation to Schools. Then to publish other books and teaching resources to help behavior analysts, teachers, and parents in their support of providing care to school-aged learners. In 2012, Stimulus Publications partnered with Behavior Analysts, inc. to co-author and publish The Assessment of Functional Living Skills® (AFLS) with Dr. James Partington, the author of The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills, Revised (ABLLS-R).
The growth of the consultation firm and the success of these assessments and publications led to various national and international speaking engagements, consultations, and trainings. The various ways in which countries outside of North America provide services and have limited access to different “common” supports was beginning to have an impact and shape their world view.
In 2018, Drs. Mueller and Nkosi led a technology development team to create AFLSonline™ - An online platform of the AFLS. Over the next 2 years, they brought the AFLSonline™ to life, launching the platform in late 2019. AFLSonline™ is operated as a separate business and Dr. Mueller plays a daily hands-on role in operations during its continued development and growth.
On a recent trip to the Republic of Moldova Dr. Mueller provided two days of training. The first day he trained on the Assessment of Functional Living Skills and the second day he trained on advanced topics in the functional analysis of challenging behavior. The trip was funded and sponsored in part by a grant through the United Nations Development Project whose aims include the development of behavioral healthcare services in developing countries. Presenting to a room full of non-English speaking behavior therapists and behavior analysts, not a single one of them was certified. The two days of training were translated into Russian and Romanian. The energy and dedication of this group was tangible. Their administration and attendees were incredibly grateful for the opportunity to learn first-hand and advance their knowledge base. This was not done for CEs or other requirements, but to arm themselves with knowledge to help support the children and adolescents with autism in their area. They have very little access to training and materials in their own languages. Couple that with a lack of accessibility physically, financially, and geographically to all the common supports that are taken for granted in countries with better resources and public awareness. The situation was dire. They could have done nothing. It would have been easy to do. But, they didn’t. Instead, they organized, trained themselves, and were moved to action in spite of the overwhelming odds against them. To them, the recent changes in BACB® policies regarding international certification felt like someone had just put out the last light they had guiding their way to a real chance at acquiring accepted certification standards in ABA.
Dr. Mueller left there humbled and completely changed by the experience. After getting back to the US, he consulted with colleagues who shared similar story after story about their experiences in other places around the world. While on recent trips to such places as Dubai of the United Arab Emirates and Ghana in West Africa, Dr. Nkosi also experienced first-hand the dire need for an international professional certification program for behavior analysts outside of the United States.
Being totally preoccupied by this issue, they did not just want to see a solution to it, they wanted to be a part of the solution. They needed to act. They were driven to help.
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