LEESBURG, Va. (WDVM) — A shortage of ABA practitioners but a growing waitlist of patients has led to two local clinics joining forces to combat accommodate the need as autism cases continue to climb.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is used in therapy for children with autism. It’s one of the most recommended approaches, but there aren’t enough qualified instructors to meet the need.

The shortage of ABA providers was an issue even before the pandemic, but with “The Great Resignation” sweeping across industries, finding qualified candidates has become more of a challenge.

“We have more clients than staff, so our client list keeps growing and growing,” said Claudia Skinner, founder of Leesburg-based PosAbilities Clinic.

Skinner says she tried everything — multiple job postings, a benefits package, and increased hourly rates. Yet, she couldn’t fill the vacant spots.

“I couldn’t find anyone that was willing to come work for us,” she said.

Skinner began to turn to her competition to see how they handled the worker shortage.

“I started looking at other clinics and I started a conversation saying, ‘Hey, can we get together and see what we can do?” said Skinner.

One of those conversations was with Carol Woodall, founder of clinic Applied Behavioral Solutions. Woodall joined forces with Skinner to create a larger clinic with a powerful mission.

“A desire to empower. That’s where we are both coming from,” said Woodall. “We want to empower the children we work with. We want to empower the staff and co-workers.”

PosAbilities Clinic can serve more families with a combined staff, but the search for certified ABA instructors continues. In addition, both Skinner and Woodall hope more people consider ABA as a profession.

“ABA is a really broad science, and if you look at it as a clear, methodical way to build skill, and how much fun you can have doing that. I hope more people join our field,” said Woodall.

As of now, there are still 15 kids on PosAbilities Clinic’s waiting list for services. Skinner says the clinic is turning to hiring college students for help.