Developmental Support Associates

DSA’s Perspective on Disability  

  • Disability resides not in an individual, but in the interaction between the individual and his or her environment.
  • Disability exists only as long as an individual cannot freely access what he or she needs within a particular setting.  
  • Disabilities can be reduced through a combination of personal development, appropriate support and an accessible environment.


DSA’s Service Philosophy

At Developmental Support Associates, our supports and services emphasize the unique nature of each person in the context of his or her environment. We believe that many factors must be considered in order to provide positive behavior supports and high quality person-centered services:

§ Behavioral PrinciplesThe principles of behavior modification and applied behavior analysis are central to an understanding of motivation and behavior.

§ Intrinsic MotivationEach individual has unique needs, interests and preferences. Learning and daily functioning are best supported when activities and materials reflect already existing motivations.

§ DevelopmentLearning and behavior usually reflect stages of development, and most effective learning occurs when the supports and teaching strategies are developmentally appropriate. Also, most tasks are learned more easily when they are broken down into developmental steps.

§ Wellness: Physical, emotional, social and spiritual health must be supported in order to achieve a positive and fulfilling quality of life.

§ CultureEach individual represents a unique expression of beliefs, values and behavioral expectations. Effective supports must reflect both the individual and the cultural setting.

§ Environment: Relatively minor reshaping of the environment can have a profound impact on learning and performance. In the proper environment, disability is minimized.

§ Rights: Appropriate supports must be designed in a manner that promotes autonomy,protects health and safety and promotes human and civil rights.


George Rathbone, MA, EdM, LCPC, NCC, CCBT


B.A. Williams College, MA

M.A., Ed.M., Columbia University, NY


Professional Credentials

National Certified Counselor, Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist,

Licensed Professional Counselor (DC, Maryland and VA), Endorsement in Positive 

Behavior Support (VCU, Partnership for People with Disabilities)



Mr. Rathbone is the Owner/Director for Developmental Support Associates (DSA), founded in 2001. DSA is a DBHDS licensed provider of in-home services for children, adolescents and adults with intellectual disability in Virginia. DSA serves individuals with developmental, intellectual, mental health and behavioral concerns, as well as their families and providers. DSA also serves families and providers in Maryland, where George is a consultant to the ARC of Southern Maryland’s Behavior Support Services program, funded by DDA. Prior to his graduate studies, Mr. Rathbone worked as a teacher and then teacher/director in local early childhood programs.

Mr. Rathbone volunteers as a speaker in the ARC of Northern Virginia’s Transition Series, and his team also has provided regular student activities. In 2011 DSA received the Jessica Burmester Volunteer award for this work. Volunteer efforts range from assisting local disability advocacy groups, to travelling internationally to help design a system of psychosocial supports for HIV/AIDS orphans in Botswana, Africa. 

In DC, Mr. Rathbone was employed in their Developmental Disability Agency as the Director of Quality Assurance, and later the Director of Clinical Services. He also taught undergraduate and graduate art educators in psychology and sociology for 5 years at the Corcoran School of Art and Design, where he also acted as a liaison to public schools.

Mr. Rathbone has presented locally, nationally and internationally on topics related to Positive Behavior Support, and he has published in a peer reviewed professional journal.


Edward G. Robinson, M.Ed., C.A.S., FAAIDD

Mr. Robinson was named a Fellow with the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) in 2012. He is a Harvard and University of Virginia trained educator and clinician who has managed mental health and intellectual disability agencies and residential programs in the Northern Virginia area for more than 25 years. Mr. Robinson is the former Director of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Residential Programs for the City of Alexandria, Virginia.  

Mr. Robinson is also President of For Those In Need Inc. , a non profit organization that has supported his and Mr. Rathbone's work with orphans and children with special needs in the Republic of Botswana. He has worked locally, in Africa and the Middle East to design and implement support systems that have improved the lives of individuals and their families with disabilities.

He currently chairs a major national committee for the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (formerly AAMR). He is a Harvard University trained educator and clinician who has managed mental health agencies and residential programs in the Northern Virginia andDCarea for 25years.

Mr. Robinson is president and founder of Issac and Imani, Inc. , an organization that has worked locally and in Africa to design supports to families with members who have significant special need.

DSA’s Professional Support Staff

DSA staff members are seasoned and dedicated professionals who have been selected for their established reputations as top quality direct support providers. They communicate effectively both verbally and non-verbally, and they have a strong dedication to serving individuals with disabilities.



Areas of Expertise Include:

  • ADHD
  • Emotional Disability
  • Aspergers Syndrome
  • Learning Disability
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Lesch-Nyan Syndrome
  • Autism
  • Mood Disorders
  • Brain Injury
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder
  • Dementia
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Seizure Disorders
  • PLV
  • Chromosome 6q Deletion
  • Down Syndrome
  • Smith-Magenis Syndrome


At Developmental Support Associates, we try to be flexible to the specific needs of the individual, and we sometimes offer services we have not listed here.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss your specific needs.