Living with an autistic child can leave an entire family walking on eggshells. Ten-year-old Alex Kline’s struggle with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome has consumed his entire family. His parents Tara Kennedy-Kline and Chris Kline decided to get help. A behavior consultant spent a week in their home to help them regain control. “There are fewer tears around the house now,” Tara Kennedy-Kline writes, “but, even more important, there are more smiles.”
Autism Partnership was formed in 1994 to meet the tremendous need for effective services to families with autistic children.
Based upon our founders’ extensive and unique experiences in providing behavioral treatment to children, adolescents and adults we have developed a comprehensive program that provides a variety of services.
Our directors were intimately involved in the treatment program developed at the UCLA Young Autism Project during the period of 1975-1987. Our current work incorporates the knowledge gained from the University research clinic and combines it with our more recent experience delivering services in community based settings. As knowledge about effective behavioral treatments continues to advance, we have also made innovations to increase accessibility to greater numbers of children in a variety of settings. We have extended the application of this specialized teaching methodology to children who are older. While it is clear that the optimal time to begin intervention is at the preschool age, there are many older children who have greatly benefited from intensive behavioral treatment.
Autism Partnership is pleased to share a unique opportunity for families to receive behavioral treatment in a clinical setting provided by skilled and experienced interventionists receiving graduate-level training in the field of ABA and Autism. Each child’s team will include highly individualized curriculum, program development and supervision provided by leading experts in the field with world-wide experience in Autism Treatment. As part of their CABA training, each direct line staff member will receive 20-25 hours per week of hands-on and didactic training throughout the year. Opportunities for children to participate in additional research studies will be available.
In 2014, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) initiated a program for credentialing behavior technicians. The new credential, Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), is for providers of behavioral intervention to a wide range of individuals with mental health needs and developmental delays, including individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The RBT would represent the entry-level position within the range of the BACB credentials. Despite the increasing acceptance of this newest level of credential from the behavioral community, the authors of this paper have substantial concerns with the RBT
A recent commentary in the peer-reviewed Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders advocates for a return to the spirit of progressive science that was historically the hallmark of Applied Behavior Analysis. The authors, including staff of Autism Partnership and several other prominent researchers and clinicians in the field of autism and ABA, voiced concern that over the past decade the field has drifted toward rigorous methodology and strict adherence to protocols with the result of stifling innovation and discouraging in-the-moment decision making.
Navigating the world of autism treatment can be perplexing and overwhelming. Autism Partnership is dedicated to promoting evidence based procedures through research that focuses on developing quality treatment for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Currently, the research department is conducting a range of studies to evaluate and develop effective means of teaching social skills to children of all ages, evaluate the use of group teaching, gain a better understanding of treatments that lead to greater skill acquisition, evaluate ways to better support parents and train staff, and look at a wide range of strategies related to applied behavior analysis and autism treatment.
For more information about our research and how you can participate in a current or future Autism Partnership Study please contact Justin Leaf, Ph.D. at Jblautpar@aol.com
Autism Partnership is pleased to introduce the first in a series of training videos offering newly developed programs supported by a compilation of detailed video demonstrations of actual treatment sessions. Multiple examples are provided by Autism Partnership’s unparalleled Treatment Analysts illustrating the progression of programming at various stages of skill development. Each chapter includes a written section that describes programs in detail accompanied by a video companion.
In 1999 we published, A Work in Progress, a manual containing strategies and programs that we had developed over that past 20 years. It is now 2012 and we have (finally!) made some more progress. Our approach and programming efforts have continued to evolve over the last 13 years. We have continued to try to blend a natural, child-friendly approach to teaching while remaining determinedly systematic. We have developed new approaches to solving challenging behavior problems as well as teaching communication, social and recreational skills. A Work in Progress received positive reviews from parents and professionals alike. However, we would often hear, “If we could just see the programs in action, that would be even more helpful!” We have taken the feedback and developed A Work in Progress Companion Series which combines written booklets on various teaching strategies along with actual demonstrations of our work with students on DVD. We have selected a few of our favorite programs which illustrate the use of behavior methods to teach a variety of skills to students of all ages.
We hope that parents and teachers will find this series a helpful companion and extension to A Work in Progress. We are also excited to announce that all of our proceeds from A Work in Progress Companion Series will go directly to the Autism Partnership Family Foundation! This Foundation was developed for three purposes: to provide services to families with limited resources; to fund research that will investigate new strategies and programs that truly make a difference in the lives of children and families; and to disseminate information about evidence-based treatment and provide resources for training parents and professionals
Payment for Publications should be made Payable to Autism Partnership
By Autism Partnership: Mitchell Taubman, Ph.D., Ron Leaf, Ph.D., and John McEachin, Ph.D.
With contributing chapters by: Marlene Driscoll, M.A. MFT, B.J. Freeman, Ph.D., Alyne Kuyumjian, M.S., Justin Leaf, M.A., Karen McKinnon, M.A., Tracee Parker, Ph.D., Julia Peacock, M.S., Jon Rafuse, M.A., Julide Saltuklaroglu and Andrea Waks, J.D.D.
“One of the most comprehensive and easy-to-use guides available for teaching social skills to children and youth with autism spectrum disorders. A valuable resource for teachers, clinicians, and families!” – Tristram Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Rochester Medical Center
“This is a terrific addition to the information available on how to teach social skills. The authors have outlined ways to teach social skills in social awareness, social communication, social interaction, social learning, and social relatedness.” – Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D., Director of Research and Training, The McCarton School
Crafting Connections is a welcomed addition to many professionals’ libraries. It provides empirically based techniques for teaching social skills to a wide age range of individuals on the autism spectrum. Crafting Connections directly deals with many of the social pitfalls individuals with ASDs face on a daily basis. E. VanBergeijk (&) Vocational Independence Program, New York Institute of Technology, 300 Carleton Avenue, Room 112 Independence Hall, Central Islip, NY 11722, USA
Written by a team of renowned professionals, this guide highlights skill development in clear and behavioral frameworks, and provides parents and teachers with a wealth of information regarding goals and strategies. Sub-skills, prerequisites, and methods of instruction are outlined for each area in a methodical, easy-to-read manner.
The book is practical in that it addresses real world issues such as teasing and bullying, conversational development, and social comprehension. Most individuals with ASD have substantial social challenges. Many receive good and thorough intervention in various areas of the curriculum, but few receive excellent instruction in social skills. This book will increase the quality of social skill instruction offered to learners on the spectrum.
Payment for Publications should be made Payable to Autism Partnership.
A comprehensive guide for any parent or professional working with Autistic children, A Work In Progress is an absolute must-have. Parents of newly diagnosed children and professionals looking for a concrete curriculum will find this book to be an invaluable resource. The two-part manual presents ABA-based behavioral intervention strategies along with a detailed curriculum that contains 54 clear, step-by-step exercises.
The first half of the book, entitled Behavioral Strategies For Teaching Improving Behavior of Autistic Children, gives parents practical, how-to information on setting up an ABA program and dealing with difficult behaviors. Topics covered include: teaching formats; stages of therapy; evaluation; reinforcement; working with older children; disruptive behaviors; behavior problems; self-stimulatory behaviors; sleep problems; toilet training; eating problems; as well as play and social skills. The second part of the book is a detailed curriculum titled Autism Partnership Curriculum for Discrete Trial Teaching with Autistic Children.
Payment for Publications should be made Payable to Autism Partnership.
By Autism Partnership: Ron Leaf, Ph.D., Mitchell Taubman, Ph.D. and John McEachin, Ph.D.
With contributing chapters by: Marlena Driscoll, M.A., LMFT, Alicia Ellis, M.Ed., M.S., Craig Kennedy, Ph.D, Toby Mountjoy, Tracee Parker, Ph.D., Leticia Palos-Rafuse, M.S., Jon Rafuse, M.A., Rick Schroeder, Jennifer Sryzens, M.S., Andrea Waks, J.D.D., and Tammy White, M.Ed.
A must read for all school administrators, special education staff and parents who have children with autism. . . . Required reading for all educators! – Joanne D. Foland, Ed.D, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services, Los Alamitos Unified School District
Gives detailed research-based strategies and key components in a clear, concise and easily replicable manner. . . . Follow the guidelines in this book to create and deliver high-quality student-centered programs, and track student progress to demonstrate accountability. From the critical components of imbedding ABA to the keys to a highly effective reinforcement program, this book contains the answers education professionals have been seeking. . . . An outstanding work! – Mary Schillinger, Assistant Superintendent Education, Las Virgenes Unified School District
The editors of this book offer practical advice to special education directors and superintendents while providing extensive training to teachers, direct and supplementary service personnel and parents. It is an essential manual that demonstrates how to determine and optimize the best school placement for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) while ensuring quality and continuity of service. It’s Time for School! is sure to become the standard guidebook for setting up school-based ABA programs.
How to Establish an ABA Classroom
Developing Staff Skills, Workshops, and Classroom Checklists
Determining the Best Placement
Functional Behavior Assessment
Data Collection and Management
Explanation of Discrete Trial Training
Payment for Publications should be made Payable to Autism Partnership.
By Autism Partnership: Ron Leaf, Ph.D., John McEachin, Ph.D. and Mitchell Taubman, Ph.D.
With contributing chapters by: Danielle Baker, M.S., Jennifer Styzens, M.S., B.J. Freeman, Ph.D., Doris Soluaga Murtha, M.A., Andrea Waks, J.D.D., Toby Mountjoy, Sandy Slater, Ph.D., David Rostetter, Ph.D., Tracee Parker, Ph.D. and Andy Bondy, Ph.D.
“Leaf, McEachin, Taubman and their colleagues provide the interested lay reader with a guidebook on how to think about some of the ‘too-good-to-be-true’ treatments for autism, and the questions one needs to ask to identify which techniques have a sound grounding in empirical research and which are based on hunches, hypotheses, or not yet validated clinical experience.” – Sandra L. Harris, Executive Director, Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
A renowned team of professionals sift the sense from the nonsense in assessing the approaches to the treatment of autism. In a field exploding with alternative treatments, choosing the best course of action for the child with autism can be a daunting task. The authors offer compelling practical evidence of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as the most reliable approach to education, and provide a much needed antidote to other treatments lacking empirical data. The aim is to empower parents and professionals to ensure that their children receive quality educational programming. In supporting the notion that every individual must be approached according to their needs, goals and progress, this is a book written with knowledge and compassion for children, parents and professionals who deal with autism on a daily basis.
ABA as a Scientific Method
Alternative Treatments for ASD: What is the Science?
Home vs. School: Which Side Are You On?
ASD and the IEP
How Realistic is the Aim for Recover?
Sense and Nonsense about Inclusion
The Road Map to Successful Integration
Payment for Publications should be made Payable to Autism Partnership.
When A Work in Progress was first published in 1999 it was our attempt to disseminate important curriculum information to those helping individuals with autism. We have continued to learn and refine our techniques and curriculum over the years. In order to help communicate the perspective of Autism Partnership we are providing two updated programs for download that best demonstrate our evolution in treatment. If you find the programs helpful we ask you to consider making a donation to the Autism Partnership Family Foundation. Even small donations to the foundation can help us further our efforts to support families.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) uses an understanding of why behavior occurs to address a wide range of social issues, including helping individuals to learn. Like other applied sciences, ABA can be applied to a range of populations and settings (e.g., business and industry, education, gerontology, healthcare) and to a range of social concerns (e.g., anxieties, depression, phobia, addiction, behaviors associated with autism).
What distinguishes ABA from other disciplines?
Applied Behavior Analysis focuses on behavior (not theoretical constructs). It uses laws of behavior that have been experimentally demonstrated, and it uses clearly defined procedures to specify how to change behavior. The primary focus of ABA is on behavior that is important to individuals, in terms of enabling them to lead more fulfilling lives.
ABA employs teaching where the objectives of intervention are to teach your child those skills that will facilitate his development and help him achieve the greatest degree of independence and the highest quality of life possible. Although many different techniques comprise ABA the primary instructional method is called Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT). DTT involves breaking a skill into smaller parts, teaching one sub-skill at a time until mastery, allowing repeated practice in a concentrated period of time, providing prompting and fading as necessary and using reinforcement procedures.
Is all ABA the same?
This is a complicated issue because not all ABA is alike. There is tremendous variation from those approaches that are extremely rigid and have set rules, regardless of the child, those approaches that are lackadaisical and without any structure.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can take a variety of different forms dependent on the group that is providing this service. In addition to the skill level of the provider, there are technical and stylistic differences in implementation. Approaches range from those that are dogmatic and rigid, to unstructured. Autism Partnership’s over thirty-five years of clinical and research experience shows the best option is a careful balance of flexibility while still retaining the essence of a systematic, empirical approach to teaching. It is also important to incorporate ABA techniques that are individually tailored for each child.
Early behavioral practitioners were often perceived to be too rigid and punitive. And sadly, even today, there are behaviorists who continue to use highly artificial and unnatural teaching strategies. This has led to a wave of clinicians who distanced themselves from traditional methods. They’ve even created new terminology to make the therapy more appealing to parents and teachers.
Why is Autism Partnership different?
What makes Autism Partnership different from other agencies is that we focus on building strong learning foundations. If children have disruptive and interfering behaviors it is extremely difficult for them to learn. Therefore we must concentrate our efforts on teaching them essential skills so that we can truly build upon their abilities to learn. Teaching children “how to learn” is essential. Tragically, building a strong foundation is often neglected.
However, without a strong behavioral foundation it is extremely difficult to teach critical skills such as communication, social and play skills. Of course, it takes hard work on everyone’s part. Skilled professionals conducting effective intervention, schools providing appropriate education and well-trained teachers, and parents providing love and support to become experts in their own right, are all important players in the partnership. Our intervention approach applies sound teaching principles of learning to help children succeed. Improvement is simply not enough. Our children, their brothers, sisters and parents deserve the highest quality of life.
Autism Partnership’s ABA process
Develop strong and natural reinforcers so that learning can easily transfer to the real world. When children are motivated by activities, social interaction, and the desire to learn, one does not have to rely upon artificial reinforcers.
Helping children so that they learn not only in 1:1 situations but in small and large groups
Helping children learn in natural settings, full of the types distractions that occur in schools and in the community. With a strong foundation of learning how to learn, it simply is not necessary to use the typical accommodations for removing distractions and utilizing artificial cues
Focusing on the whole child: not only is communication and academics important but teaching children the skills so that they can develop meaningful and long lasting relationships. This includes developing relationship and play skills.
Teaching children the skills so that they can become truly independent. Learning how to monitor their own behaviors is essential for maximizing quality of life
Recognizing the need to provide counseling services for children, siblings and parents
Providing therapy in natural forms so that children develop natural language
Working with toddlers, adolescents and adults of all functioning levels
Training parents, teachers, and family members the necessary skills so that they can facilitate success
Autism Partnership Foundation was established to provide services to children whose parents do not have the means to obtain treatment and to advance research on the behavioral treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and to educate parents and professionals about ASD and Applied Behavior Analysis.
Consistent with our goal to provide information and support to teachers and all involved in autism education, Autism Partnership Foundation is sponsoring an opportunity for a school or School District (located in Southern California) to receive a complimentary 1-day workshop for their entire autism services team. Interested? Application Information is below.
The Free Workshop is Titled: “Bullying and ASD: The Perfect Storm”
Presented by: Ron Leaf, Ph.D.and Tracee Parker, Ph.D.
The Bilson family is like many other families: three kids, a cat, and a small, lovely home with lots of family photos and carved wooden wall signs with sayings like “Live, Laugh, Love.” But step inside their house after 4 p.m. most weekdays and you’ll want to cover your ears because of the noise — the screaming, to be exact. These are not the shouts of sibling rivalry or parental annoyance. This is the high-pitched, ear-shattering sound of a 13-year-old girl. More accurately, it is the sound of a frustrated, irritated, very loud teenager with autism.
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