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.
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
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
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
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
This new book, written by Ronald Leaf, Ph.D, Justin B. Leaf, Ph.D, and John McEachin, Ph.D provides insight into the past, present and potential future of behavior analysis treatment in autism. Written in the spirit of progress and flexibility, Clinical Judgement presents a thoughtful and encouraging history of those who paved the way in pioneering Applied Behavior Analysis and explains how and why the field was able to develop as it did.
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
Working with toddlers, adolescents and adults of all
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
We believe that every child deserves to thrive. With
effective treatment, children with ASD have amazing potential to
foster meaningful relationships and live happy, productive
lives. The Autism Partnership Foundation helps children and
adolescents with ASD by:
Providing beneficial services to children
whose parents are unable to afford clinically effective treatment
Advancing behavioral treatment reserach for
Educating and training parent and
professionals about ASD and Applied Behavior Analysis
Your tax-deductible contribution provides vital funding for
development of new programs and ensuring that children in need
will receive the treatment they deserve.
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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