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Applied Behavior Analysis

Patient at Jane Justin school

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Autism Services provides behavioral treatment to children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. The treatments provided are based on the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) – the only treatment approach with rigorous scientific evidence to support its effectiveness as both comprehensive and focused treatment for people with autism spectrum disorders.

Applied Behavior Analysis involves the application of scientifically-validated behavioral procedures to address issues that are socially important – and the continuous evaluation of treatment progress and clinical decision-making based on direct observation data.


We quickly discovered this program is not just for Jack, it is for the whole family. This program incorporates parents, siblings, extended family and even friends. Jack's tutors have become an integral part of our lives. Jack is an active, creative, and resourceful five-year old. His welcoming brown eyes are windows into the precocious and funny child he has become since joining the Child Study Center.
– Natalie N.


Our Applied Behavior Analysis program provides full day services (9:00 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.). Frequency of attendance ranges from 2 to 5 days per week. When children are initially admitted to our program, they undergo a comprehensive skill assessment based on our curriculum. We use the assessment results to guide the selection of individualized treatment goals. Each child's instruction typically consists of discrete trial teaching, as well as incidental teaching and other naturalistic intervention approaches. We emphasize rapport between tutors and children. We frequently collaborate with the Child Study Center's Jane Justin School in gradually transitioning children to environments with lower teacher-to-student ratio. Our services are in network with most commercial insurance plans. We only accept fully immunized children into this program.

Intervention goals

The overarching mission of our program is to increase desirable behavior and to decrease problem behavior. Through these changes, we aim to bring about an improvement in all important areas of the child's functioning including: communication, social skills, academic skills, leisure skills, and self-help skills. We place specific emphasis on teaching children appropriate ways to ask for what they want (whether it's an item they want to have or an activity they'd like to do) – and the appropriate way to reject things they don't want. "Mand", or verbal request training, provides the context for expanding on the children's language complexity. Higher-functioning children receive instruction in reading, math, and other academic skills.

Other areas of emphasis

  • Food selectivity (picky eating)
  • Compliance with grooming routines (e.g., clipping fingernails, getting a haircut)
  • Toilet training, dressing and other self-help skills
  • Reduction of stereotypy and other problem behavior (e.g., tantrums, aggression)

For children who are likely to need continued support throughout their life-span, targeting self-help skills becomes especially important. We also devise social skills groups for children, in which they learn how to interact appropriately with when playing games and doing other activities.

Behavior Disorders Clinic

Patient at Jane Justin school

The Behavior Disorders Clinic at the Child Study Center provides treatment to children with developmental disabilities who display difficult behaviors such as noncompliance, tantrums, property destruction, self-injury, aggression, and food refusal. The primary focus of the Behavior Disorders Clinic is to train parents how to actively manage problem behavior more effectively. This program is not a good fit for parents who want to use traditional counseling with a therapist as the primary method of improving their child's behavior. This program involves parents actively implementing the prescribed treatment procedures at home and tracking their child’s progress.

This free program is currently restricted to children with a diagnosis of autism. We only accept fully immunized children into this program.

Treatment typically involves weekly sessions during which parents are trained to:

  • Deliver behavior-specific praise
  • Ignore non-dangerous problem behavior
  • Give clear instructions
  • Follow through with instructions when the child is noncompliant
  • Effectively implement timeout

Before Joel came to the Child Study Center, we rarely got to hear his sweet voice. He is now a talkative 11-year- old who has made significant progress. We are thankful for the Center's commitment and endless energy – it has been transformational for our family.
– Paul C.


Parents are required to track their child's progress by:

  • Filling out a data sheet at least once every 30 minutes (more often is better)
  • Recording detailed descriptions of all problem-behavior episodes
  • Length of treatment is variable, with severe cases lasting longer



We're here to help.

You probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment, or speak to our staff, please call our offices at 682-303-9200.