Early Intervention

What is the Early Intervention Program?

The Early Intervention program in the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders focuses on improving language, social, pre-academic, academic, and daily living skills (e.g., potty training), as well as, replacing problem behavior. Each child moves through the program based on his or her individual needs. 

Hundreds of research investigations published in peer-reviewed journals have documented the success of the treatment approach used at the Munroe-Meyer Institute. An emphasis is placed on treating and replacing the core symptoms of autism. It is our goal to regularly meet 80-100% of objectives. In almost all cases, the treatments developed are equally effective in the child’s natural environment at the time of completion of the program.

Center for Autism Early Intervention services

What types of services are offered?  

The Early Intervention program offers a continuum of services including evaluation, school consultation, clinic-based intervention, and home-based program development.

The amount of weekly, clinic-based hours depends on the needs of the child and scheduling availability. The amount of treatment ranges from 1½ hours, three days a week to 3 hours, five days a week.

Caregivers and members of the behavioral team attend regularly scheduled formal goal meetings to assess the child’s progress and develop new measurable goals. Primary therapists maintain ongoing contact with caregivers between goal periods to discuss the child’s progress and address questions.

Initial Evaluation

Children are seen by a team of specialists with training and expertise in behavioral interventions. Some children may benefit from highly intensive early intervention, while other children may only require limited visits to our clinic or consultation between our staff and school personnel. Our goal is to identify a number of developmental and behavioral procedures that will result in the most rapid acquisition of targeted skills.

Program Selection

Children with autism spectrum disorder may not acquire skills through daily interactions in their home or school environment like many of their typically developing peers. Based on the needs of each child, our staff will develop a program of language, social, pre-academic, academic, and daily living skills. To effectively teach children with autism, tasks are broken down into small, measurable units, and each skill is practiced repeatedly until the child masters it.

Treatment

During therapy sessions, evidence-based strategies are used to teach a variety of skills. Trained therapists conduct behavioral procedures based on behavior-analytic and developmental principles. Programs take place across settings ranging from individualized work at a desk to naturalistic play interactions with adults and/or peers. Progress is continuously monitored as data are graphed, reviewed, and analyzed by therapists and supervising psychologists. Data are used to guide program development and refine interventions.

Generalization

Once skills are mastered, they are practiced periodically to make sure children maintain them. Each skill is practiced in different settings to ensure the skill occurs in a variety of environments and with a variety of people.

Parent Training

Once an effective treatment is developed, care providers are trained on how to use it. Long-term success of the treatment depends on how accurately the program is carried out by parents, teachers, in-home aides, and other caregivers. To facilitate accurate use of the treatment, caregiver training includes written and spoken instruction, modeling, role-play, and feedback.

Who does the early intervention program serve?  

The program provides specialized services to children ages 2–10 who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or another developmental disability. Clients vary in functioning levels. Some children are in the initial stages of learning while others display advanced language skills but exhibit deficits in social interactions with peers.

What treatment approach is used?  

During therapy sessions, evidence-based strategies are used to train a variety of skills. Trained therapists implement behavioral procedures based on behavior-analytic and developmental principles. Programs take place across settings ranging from individualized work at a desk to naturalistic play interactions with adults and/or peers. Progress is continuously monitored as data are graphed, reviewed, and analyzed by therapists and supervising psychologists. Data are used to guide program development and refine interventions. Once skills are mastered, they are practiced periodically to make sure children maintain them. The skill is practiced in different settings to ensure the skill occurs in a variety of environments and with a variety of people. Psychologists with specialty training oversee all therapy sessions.