Life-Changing Outcomes for Exceptional Kids

First Children Announces Acquisition of Exceptional Learning, LLC

Montgomeryville, Pa. (December 2, 2020) – First Children Services, a provider of behavioral health and special education services throughout New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania, has announced it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire the interests of Exceptional Learning, LLC, a Pennsylvania-based provider of evidence-based applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy services treating children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The acquisition further expands First Children Services’ STRIVE Autism Care Continuum in Pennsylvania to Montgomery, Chester, Bucks, Delaware, Berks and Philadelphia counties. To support the expansion, First Children Services also announces the hiring of Peter Duggan, Ph.D. to further broaden the organization’s diagnostic and assessment services within southeastern Pennsylvaniaincreasing access to diagnostic testing, treatment and services for families and children with ASD. 

First Children Services’ STRIVE Autism Care Continuum takes an interdisciplinary, integrated approach to address the unique needs of children on the spectrum and their families. Offering a community-centric, comprehensive suite of on-site diagnostic, assessment, and treatment services, First Children Services’ STRIVE Autism Care Continuum utilizes ABA therapies as its primary evidence-based practice to provide customized intervention treatment plans for each child. Led by an interdisciplinary team of clinical psychologists, Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), school psychologists, clinical counselors, social workers, and behavior specialists, the expert staff at each of First Children Services’ center locations work together to create specialized, interactive treatment plans designed to make learning fun and improve social behaviors in a positive, meaningful way.     

Prior to the acquisition, First Children Services’ STRIVE Autism Care Continuum served communities in Fanwood and Maple Shade, New Jersey and Pottstown and Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. The acquisition of Exceptional Learning will allow First Children Services to further expand access to its STRIVE Autism Care Continuum deeper into Pennsylvania. With the addition of Exceptional Learning’s scope, First Children Services will now serve over 1,300 children throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania across school, home, community and clinic-based care settings. 

“We are extremely excited to partner with Exceptional Learning and expand our full-continuum of care for families and children with autism throughout southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Matthew Hess, CEO of First Children Services. “First Children Services and Exceptional Learning share a common focus on improving outcomes for children on the spectrum and we look forward to reinforcing these shared ideals through providing a comprehensive continuum of diagnostic and treatment services to this underserved population.”  

“Selling one’s business is never an easy decision, but I was put at ease when dealing with First Children Services,” said Shannon Vitelli, BCBA, Founder and CEO of Exceptional Learning. “The Fact that First Children Services is a family owned and operated company with a long-term, mission-centered commitment to the behavioral health and special education space made the process much easier for me. This partnership will allow us to continue expanding our services while giving our employees further growth opportunities.”  

In addition to the acquisition of Exceptional Learning, First Children Services is further enhancing the comprehensive range of services it provides to children with autism spectrum disorder and their families with the addition of Dr. Duggan. As an experienced psychologist focused on diagnosis, assessment and treatment for youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Dr. Duggan brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise in serving complex populations in home, school and clinic- based settings. 

First Children Services’ STRIVE Autism Care Continuum provides a community-centric, comprehensive suite of on-site diagnostic, assessment and treatment services that promote increased access to care and earlier detection and intervention,” said. Dr. Duggan, Psychologist for First Children Services. “I am thrilled to be joining First Children Services as they expand both their geographic footprint and their scope of services.helping to fill the gap in diagnostic testing and autism spectrum disorder treatment and services so more Pennsylvania families and children can receive the services and support they need.” 

First Children Services is in network with most major commercial insurance plans and is licensed to provide Intensive Behavioral Health Services by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Dr. Duggan will be providing diagnostic and assessment services at First Children’s centers in Montgomeryville, PA and Pottstown, PA starting December 1, 2020.  For more information or to schedule an appointment please call 1-888-966-0746.  To learn more about First Children Services’ STRIVE Autism Care Continuum and its locations or to make a referral please call (888) 966-0746 or email 


About First Children Services’ STRIVE Autism Care Continuum 

Part of First Children Services’ integrated care network, the STRIVE Autism Care Continuum is dedicated to improving the lives of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania with treatment plans focusing on increasing communication, social skills and life skills to help children ages 18 months and older maximize their full potential. Operated by premier providers of innovative and evidence-based services, the STRIVE Autism Care Continuum utilizes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapies to provide every child with customized intervention treatment plans tailored to their skills, needs, interests, preferences, and family situation.  


As a community-based provider, First Children Services is committed to expanding access to high quality care and vital support services through its STRIVE Autism Care Continuum as well as a wide range of home, school, and center based therapeutic and educational services to achieve life-changing outcomes for exceptional kids in the communities they serve. To learn more, visit 


About Exceptional Learning 

Founded in 2008, Exceptional Learning provides home and school based Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy services to children with autism in south eastern Pennsylvania.  The organized prioritizes quality services that are tailored to the unique needs of each child and family.  For more information on Exceptional Learning visit