About Emerald Coast Autism Center

Get to know us

Emerald Coast Autism Center (ECAC) is a 501(C) 3 non-profit organization located in Niceville, Florida dedicated to educating and improving the lives of individuals with autism in Okaloosa and Walton counties and surrounding areas.

We were founded in 2009 to fill a need in our community for quality therapeutic and educational services for individuals on the autism spectrum.

ECAC is unique in our approach to teaching these amazing individuals. All instruction and activities at ECAC are conducted in a manner consistent with the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA Therapy is based on the science of behavior and is considered evidence-based treatment for individuals on the autism spectrum. Specifically, ECAC follows the Verbal Behavior (VB) approach to ABA, based on B.F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior. ABA intervention is conducted in a one-to-one child-to-behavior technician ratio and focuses primarily on increasing communication and social skills, while decreasing problematic behaviors.

The quality of our staff is the key to our students’ success, so we take staffing very seriously. The most important factor in student progress is consistency across therapy and teaching. As a result, we devote a lot of resources to training our therapists. Every new ECAC therapist spends 4-6 weeks training in-house, must pass an internal evaluation on each student that they will work with, and then is required to pass a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) examination before working directly 1:1 with any of our students. ECAC employs Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs) and RBTs. Many of our RBTs are in their coursework to become certified behavior analysts. Additionally, we have a Certified Nurse and three Certified Nurse Assistants on staff.

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) does not sponsor, approve or endorse Emerald Coast Autism Center, the materials, information or sessions identified herein.

A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free within the state. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state.  1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352)  www.FloridaConsumerHelp.com

Reporting of Ethical Misconduct is required by law and is our duty as professionals entrusted with the safety and welfare of students every day. Florida Statute section 39.203 and section 768.095 protect the person reporting ethical misconduct from reprisal by the individual reported or the employer if the report was made in good faith without malicious intent. ECAC requires that every employee, educational support employees, and administrators report any issue that could currently or potentially impact the health, safety, or welfare of its students.

The process for report is as follows. Any incident that an employee believes is potentially harmful to a student should be immediately reported to their immediate supervisor or Director. Any employee who knowingly fails to report misconduct or abuse will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

 •Reporting Misconduct by Instructional Personnel and Administrators All employees, educational support employees, and administrators have an obligation to report misconduct by instructional personnel and school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student.

Training Requirement All instructional personnel, educational support employees, and administrators are required as a condition of employment to complete training on these standards of ethical conduct.

Parents, students, and employees should regularly visit the public registry to review it for individuals who may have prior criminal records and sex offenses. Information concerning registered sex offenders and predators in Florida may be obtained by visiting. http://www.fdle.state.fl.us, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Sexual Offenders database. Information may also be obtained by contacting the FDLE's toll free telephone number: 1-888-FL-PREDATOR (1-88-357-7332). ECAC performs criminal-background checks on its employees and volunteers with unsupervised access to children.

In cases of suspected Physical Abuse, Sexual abuse, or Neglect the employee should report those issues immediately to the 1-800-96Abuse hotline. Notice: All employees will be required to complete ethics training as a condition of their employment with ECAC.
*Please note that a student who has been placed by parental choice at ECAC does not have the same individual right to receive some or all of the special education and related services that the student would have the right to receive if enrolled in a Florida public school under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as amended. *

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Our expert team

Meet the team behind our success story

Montana Hobbs

Montana Shadwick

Clinical Director

Shanna Huffnagle

Assistant Director

Lindsey Howell


Kim Duvall


Baylee Estep