About Us

Little Star: School and Therapy Center

Our School

Little Star Center and Behavioral Clinic serves a dual-function as both a private school and a behavior therapy center. We are known as the “ABA School” of Jacksonville. We provide comprehensive, affordable, individual education and behavioral services for children between the ages of 2-12 years who struggle with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental delays. We offer full time (5 days/wk) and part time (1-4 days/wk) school following the requirements of the Florida Department of Education, with the option of a 41-week school year or 49-week school year (to include the eight weeks of summer).

Our school program is offered in a 1:1, 2:1, or a 6:2 setting. We place a strong emphasis on academics, behavior, and communication. Our primary mode of instruction is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) – a scientifically-based, systematic method of improving socially significant behavior. It is used to address behavioral excesses and deficits across multiple domains. So, for instance, that could include increasing the acquisition of academic targets and communication skills and/or decreasing the occurrence of undesirable behaviors. All students receive ABA therapy throughout the entire school day rather than only receiving brief “ABA pull-out” services. We utilize individual instruction, group instruction, and social skills training.

Our ultimate goal is to prepare children with Autism and other developmental delays for a typical educational setting through intense training and small group sessions. Our school staff consists of Certified Teachers, Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA), and Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA). All staff members hold a Bachelor’s Degree or higher and/or have completed specialized training in ABA therapy. Ongoing training and supervision is provided by a Master’s level BCBA.

A Brief History

In 2003, Steele and Amy Gudal set out to open the first Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) school in Indiana. Their inspiration was their six year old daughter, Gentry. After almost four years of in-home ABA, it was obvious that Gentry needed a place where she could interact with her peers and benefit from multiple therapists. Another motivating factor was to return the home back to a home environment and to provide a place for parents to connect while receiving support and respite.

The Little Star School (now the Little Star Center) opened its doors in 2003 and is thriving today with two locations in Indianapolis and West Lafayette. Shortly after Little Star opened, the Gudal family moved to Jacksonville Beach, FL, and again were faced with similar challenges seeking an education for Gentry. Gentry did ABA in a home they rented in Neptune Beach, and the Gudals asked other families doing home programs to join them. Not much later, these families and therapists had a desire to grow into a more formal setting. Steele and Amy held meetings with this eager group, coached them through the steps for starting a school, and helped them secure a location for the school on San Pablo Road. Once that was done they were off and running on their own as Little Star Center of Jacksonville!