The mission of the Verbal Behavior Clinic (VBC) is to provide high-quality and research-supported services to teach communication and social skills to individuals and their families.
The VBC opened its doors in January of 2011. The VBC is one of the clinics that compose the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL), Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD). The clinic focuses on caregiver training as an essential part of treatment. Services are delivered by graduate students enrolled in the UHCL Behavior Analysis master's program under the supervision of the Clinic Director, Dr. Sarah Lechago, BCBA-D, LBA.
The VBC offers a variety of services to individuals and their families to teach communication and social skills. There is no diagnostic or age requirement to qualify for services.
After conducting assessments with the learner, the therapist develops an empirically-based treatment plan, implements it to ensure it is effective, and teaches caregivers how to implement the treatment plan with the learner.
Therapists work with caregivers to teach language and social skills including, but not limited to: communication (vocal speech, sign language, talk blocks, Picture Exchange Communication System – PECS, etc.), requesting for items and information, conversation skills, peer interaction, academic skills, recalling past events, and answering safety questions.
VBC services are provided at the UHCL Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and in the community. Additionally, the VBC-Telehealth (VBC-T) offers online services via a HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing software. The goal of the VBC-T is to increase accessibility to high-quality and research-supported services to teach communication and social skills to individuals and their families by providing services using telecommunication technology in compliance with professional and legal standards.
Dr. Sarah Lechago is the founder and director of the Verbal Behavior Clinic (VBC). She is also the co-founder and co-director of the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) Connecting the Dots (CTD) program with Dr. Jennifer Fritz. She is on faculty in the Behavior Analysis program at the UHCL. Her research interests include translational and applied research in verbal behavior, motivating operations, and staff and student training. She has published in numerous journals including The Analysis of Verbal Behavior and the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. She has served or currently serves on the editorial boards for The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice, and the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and has served as guest reviewer for The Psychological Record, The Behavior Analyst, and multiple other journals. Dr. Lechago supervises each case in the VBC. During her free time, Dr. Lechago enjoys training martial arts and talking with her niece and nephew, and listening to music and podcasts.
Fernanda Oda currently serves as the Clinic Coordinator of the Verbal Behavior Clinic (VBC). She is currently a third-year student in the Behavior Analysis Master’s Program at the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL). She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR/Brazil) in 2012. Fernanda currently serves as the UHCL Program Delegate for the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), as an Associate Editor of the Brazilian Journal of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy (RBTCC), and as the Lab Coordinator of the Verbal Behavior Research Lab (VBRL). She served as the UHCL Student Representative of the Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group of the ABAI. During her free time, Fernanda likes to play videogames and read novels.
Landon Cowan is the Therapist Assistant (TA) Supervisor of the VBC. He is also a therapist and the Program Coordinator of the VBC-Telehealth (VBC-T) Program. He received his bachelor's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas in 2017. He is a second-year student in the Behavior Analysis Master's Program at UHCL and has five years of both clinical and research experience working with learners with developmental disabilities and staff members. During his free time, Landon likes to play and train his new dog, Hazel.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the Verbal Behavior Clinic?
The Verbal Behavior Clinic (VBC) is one of the clinics that compose the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL), Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD). The focus of the clinic is to teach communication and social skills to individuals of all ages and their families. Services are delivered by graduate students enrolled in the UHCL, Behavior Analysis master's program under the supervision of the clinic director, Dr. Sarah Lechago, BCBA-D, LBA.
2. What types of services does the VBC provide?
- Assessments of language and social skills
- Caregiver training
- Teaching language skills
- Teaching social skills
- Supporting families at IEP meetings
- Teaching clients to communicate using a wide variety of modalities including vocal, picture exchange, voice output devices, and sign language
3. How do I sign up for services?
Please email the clinic coordinator at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Include the following information in your email message:
- Your name
- Name of any other caregiver who will be involved
- Name of the learner
- Learner's age
- Primary concern
- Your preferred phone number
4. What can my family and I expect to experience once enrolled in the program?
- First meeting:
- We will get to know the learner and your family
- Tell you more about the clinic and answer your questions
- Obtain your consent for services
- You and your therapist will select a language or social skills goal together
- Assessments will be conducted to evaluate the learner's language or social skills
- The therapist will develop a treatment plan based on the assessment results
- The therapist will implement the treatment with the learner to ensure it is effective
- The therapist will teach you how to implement the treatment plan with your learner
- Services are terminated when you feel confident implementing the treatment plan, and when we see evidence of learning with the learner
5. Who is eligible for services?
Anyone with a language and/or social skills deficit and caregivers. There is no diagnostic or age requirement to qualify for services.
6. What are the hours of operation?
Wednesdays, from 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. Sessions are typically 2 hours in length and conducted on a weekly basis.
7. What is the cost of services?
Our standard fee for services is $50 per hour. There is also a sliding scale for payments, which considers family household size and annual income. During the intake session, families can bring their proof of household income. Acceptable forms of documentation include the previous year's income tax return, W-2 forms, pay stubs, or a letter from an employer indicating salary.
8. Where are services provided?
VBC services are provided at the UHCL Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and in the community. The VBC is an on-campus clinic of the University of Houston-Clear Lake. The clinic is located in the Arbor South Building (2700 Bay Area Blvd, Box 245, Houston, TX 770581002). Additionally, the VBC-Telehealth (VBC-T) provides online services via a HIPAA-compliant videoconferencing software. The VBC-T is a branch of the VBC. Requirements for receiving services through the VBC-T include have a stable internet connection, and having at least one smartphone or electronic device capable of downloading and using the videoconferencing software (works with Windows/Mac computers Apple/Android phones). If you are interested in receiving services through the VBC-T, please email the VBC-T Program Coordinator, Landon Cowan, at CowanL1632@uhcl.edu to be placed on the waiting list for services.
If you have any additional questions about the VBC that were not answered here, please contact us at email@example.com, or call (832-908-3879) the Clinic Coordinator, Fernanda Oda, on Fridays (from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.).