Roy company offers therapy, summer social skills group for local youth


Behavior Connections LLC, an applied behavior analysis (ABA) company based in Roy, has begun hosting summer social groups for neurodivergent children on Tuesdays at Yelm Timberland Library.

Elizabeth Pettit, owner of Behavior Connections, reached out to Nisqually Valley residents through Facebook gauging interest in potential social groups for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in May.

She wrote that she had clients who struggled with social interactions with peers and that she felt free social groups with various activities could benefit others as well. Residents showed interest, and Pettit kicked off the groups at the Yelm Timberland Library this week with small meetings scheduled for 4 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Pettit, a Roy resident, and her staff at Behavior Connections help individuals and their families in decreasing disruptive and challenging behaviors by collaborating with clients to design a therapy program around their specific needs. The sessions typically take place at clients’ homes so they are most comfortable, but Pettit wants to test how they do in a more social setting. She hopes to keep the meetings small so as not to overwhelm the children.

“I think we’ve gotten nine total signed up, and I’m not charging families because this is like a test run. I want to try it out,” she said. “The kids range in age from 10 to 14, and some of them have autism and some have ADHD, and some have both.”

Interested families can private message Pettit on Facebook, and she said she will take the first two or three people that sign up.

Pettit said she will set up multiple tables with activities and observe which ones children gravitate toward so that they will be at a table with people of similar interests. Similar to the one-on-one sessions, behavior technicians will collaborate with children on sharing, taking turns and volleying back and forth in conversations.

“I would like the kids to be able to do a couple of conversation volleys back and forth and maybe be able to answer if someone asks what their name is and how old they are, maybe even make a friend,” Pettit said. “That would be the ultimate thing. A lot of times, these kids struggle with friendships. It just breaks my heart for that age group. They really want to fit in.”

Behavior Connections was formed in December of 2020 and now has seven staff members. Pettit has worked in the ABA field since 2002 and has a passion for helping others increase their quality of life, as well as teaching staffers to help clients.

“We work with kids as young as 2 to as old as 17, so it looks different depending on the kid. But we have play dates no matter the age of the kid,” she said. “Play dates can look like playing with trains or playing video games, depending on the interest of the kid. The plan is to embed it in a naturalistic way and use their interests to learn. Kids are usually sad when we go and happy when we come.”

Pettit said what makes Behavior Connections special is that it is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) business, so there are no external funders that make decisions affecting how the business operates.

“I know some of the larger companies will have funders that make decisions that aren’t clinical based, it’s money based. What’s nice about us is that we’re small and tight-knit, and we can make decisions that are best for the team and the families we serve as a whole.”

Behavior Connections serves Yelm, Roy, DuPont, Lacey and Olympia, as well as the surrounding area. Pettit said the staff typically doesn’t serve clients north of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The business currently takes Tricare, Premera and First Choice insurances and will soon take Regence and United Health Care. It also accepts private pay.

To learn more about Behavior Connections, visit its website at