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Behavior Pediatrics

What is the history and purpose of Genesis Behavior Center?
Why is intervention based on Applied Behavior Analysis?
What is Verbal Behavior, and how does it fit in with your programs?
What qualifications does your staff have?
How are goals and program placement determined?
How is progress toward goals and objectives measured?
What are the entrance and exit criteria for programs offered by Genesis Behavior Center?

What is the history and purpose of Genesis Behavior Center? Top

Genesis Behavior Center was initiated in December 2003 with the goal of providing appropriate, research-based behavior intervention services to children with autism.

It is the goal of Genesis to provide services in locations where there is a need for autism & other behavioral interventions, where families need options and access to a program based on the best research available.The purpose of Genesis' behavior intervention programs is to assist each child in reaching his or her highest level of independence, that he or she may actively participate in the least restrictive social and educational environment possible. Genesis Behavior Center is committed to forming partnerships with school districts and regional centers to give all students access to the services most appropriate for their needs. It is with these goals in mind that Genesis serves children and families every day.

Why is intervention based on Applied Behavior Analysis? Top

Programs delivered by Genesis are data and research-based, utilizing techniques that have demonstrated efficacy for students with autism and various behaviors. Though many treatment methods are available, Applied Behavior Analysis is currently the only method backed by empirical data and peer-reviewed research. Probably the most well-known study is that published by Dr. Ivar Lovaas in 1987, in which students with autism were treated with different interventions for a period of 2 years or more.

The best-outcome group was among those that received 35-40 hours per week of intensive 1:1 instruction utilizing Discrete Trials Training, generalization procedures, and behavior modification to teach skills and to treat maladaptive behaviors. Nine out of nineteen (47%) of the best-outcome students were able to achieve a normal IQ and attend general education classes without support by the first grade. Those students not in the best-outcome group made progress as well, and 42% were able to attend less restrictive special education classrooms rather than autism classrooms. Overall, the students in the experimental group who received 35-40 hours per week for 2 or more years fared much better than those in the control groups. Lovaas continues his research today, and recently published a work entitled Teaching Individuals with Developmental Delays: Basic Intervention Techniques. This book is one of the primary resources used by Genesis in developing behavior intervention programs.

Lovaas' research has greatly contributed to current programs providing services to children with autism. In the five counties served by Valley Mountain Regional Center, a successful collaboration has been formed that promotes partnership in the application of ABA to the treatment of autism. The following is an excerpt from the EIBT 4-Way Agreement between parents, providers, VMRC, SELPAs, and the Family Resource Network approved in March of 2004.

"Studies suggest that approximately 75 percent of children in EIBT programs make significant gains during their first year. Additional research indicates that 40 percent to 50 percent of children participating in EIBT programs demonstrate developmental "catch up" rates relative to typically developing same-age peers that warrant continued EIBT. These latter children may participate in EIBT programs for two to four years. Many of these children are included in primary regular education classrooms with diminishing need for aide support. As is the case with all special educational programs, the continued appropriateness of placement and continuation in an intensive in-home treatment program is reviewed at least once a year by the IFSP or IEP Team."

Though all children do not achieve the results of Lovaas' best-outcome group, nearly all children make significant progress when taught using ABA principles and procedures. It is Genesis' expectation that all children will learn a method of functional communication, make progress in self-help skills, play skills, imitation, and social skills. They will be more independent when they exit the program than they were when they entered. It is expected that their lives and the lives of their families will be more enjoyable, productive, and independent as a result. Additional information on Applied Behavior Analysis and its effectiveness is available in Related Website Links.

What is Verbal Behavior, and how does it fit in with your programs? Top

Application of Applied Behavior Analysis to teaching language has given rise to a field within ABA called Verbal Behavior, originally presented by B.F. Skinner in 1957. Today, the work of Mark Sundberg, James Partington, Vincent Carbone, and others has successfully applied these principles to teaching children with autism. Verbal Behavior focuses on the function, or the "why" of language, rather than just teaching the form. It utilizes motivational procedures to make learning fun, which in turn contributes to decreased maladaptive behaviors. Genesis uses Sundberg and Partington's The Assessment of Basic Learning and Language Skills (The ABLLS) as another primary resource in developing individualized programs. The ABLLS is a specific and measurable tool that outlines individual skills in each of the program curriculum areas targeted. The ABLLS also includes graphs to provide visual representation of skill performance and acquisition.

What qualifications does your staff have? Top

  • The Program Directors possess a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology and Applied Behavior Analysis, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Ph.D. in Psychology All directors have experience performing 1:1 intervention with children with autism. The directors have extensively researched various programs and attend ongoing professional conferences to remain current on the most effective techniques in the field. They are a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis and the California Association of Behavior Analysis (CalABA), and are Pro-ACT certified.

  • The Clinical Directors are Licensed Psychologist or licensed MFT / Social Worker who have experience with both typically developing and developmentally delayed children..

  • Behavior Consultants have a Bachelor's or Master's degree in Psychology or a related field, and have extensive experience implementing, and training others to implement, 1:1 intervention with various children diagnosed with ASD. Behavior Consultants receive ongoing education to remain informed of developments in the field.

  • Behavior Therapists possess a highschool diploma or a Bachelor's degree and / or have extensive experience working specifically with children with autism or developmental delays. They also meet the requirements set forth by the CA Department of Education, and have passed TB tests and background clearances.

How are goals and program placement determined? Top

Before a child is placed, an assessment of current functioning level and behavioral deficits and excesses is conducted. Program placement, goals, and objectives are determined by the IEP/IFSP team based upon the data collected during the assessment as well as the child's age and educational placement. Genesis Behavior Center staff will be using their expertise in the field to propose placement as well as goals and objectives, but a team approach is always emphasized, and team feedback is highly valued.

How is progress toward goals and objectives measured? Top

Goals and objectives are written in terminology that is specific and measurable. Data collection is necessary to track each child's progress to determine the effectiveness of intervention and progression toward those goals and objectives. When a child is not progressing, data are used to troubleshoot programs and to make treatment decisions. Data allow us to tailor the intervention to the child by objectively and specifically measuring which approaches are the most effective. Data are collected by Behavior Therapists and regularly measured for reliability by supervisors. Quarterly team meetings (every three months) are suggested to review progress toward annual goals and to adjust benchmarks toward those goals as needed. At these meetings, Genesis presents data-based reports to substantiate each child's progress, and the team makes decisions about the direction of intervention.

What are the entrance and exit criteria for programs offered by Genesis Behavior Center? Top

In order to enter one of the behavioral treatment programs at Genesis Behavior Center, the following criteria must apply:

  • Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder or Pervasive Developmental Disorder by a professional licensed to make such a diagnosis (i.e. licensed psychologist) according to the criteria set forth by the DSM-V.

  • The child must be between the ages of 2 and 12 years old

  • Parents must agree to and sign the Parent-Provider Agreement

  • An assessment must be completed and recommendations made in favor of a behavioral treatment program

  • The IEP/IFSP team (if applicable) must agree to such a placement

  • Appropriate funding must be secured, either by: the regional center, the school district, the SELPA.

  • Agreement with proposed goals and objectives, and data-based measurements to determine fulfillment of the goals and objectives

Enrollment and Start-Up Process for Genesis Behavior Center, Inc. programs

  1. Contact Genesis Behavior Center at (877) 828-8476 to discuss your child’s diagnosis and needs, in order to determine which program might be the best fit. (This is important because for several programs, your next step may be to contact your regional center representative, school district or private insurance company contact in order to secure funding and request approval for the assessment to occur.)

  2. An assessment will be scheduled based on the soonest available opening as well as agreement of the funding sources (if applicable). At times, there may be a waiting period of several months; in other cases, an assessment may begin within the next 1-2 weeks based on family availability and secured funding for services. See section entitled “How are goals and program placement determined?” under the FAQ page

  3. The assessment will include parent and teacher interviews, observation of the child in his/her natural environment(s), review of previous reports and records, and direct interaction to assess skills and responsiveness to teaching procedures. At the end of the assessment, a report is written and recommendations are made based upon data collected during the assessment. This report is given to the funding sources and to the parents, and is reviewed during an IEP (Individual Education Plan, an education and therapeutic services plan for child ages 3 to 22) or IFSP (Integrated Family Services Plan, a service plan for child under age 3) meeting. At the IEP/IFSP meeting, the entire team will determine which program placement is appropriate for your child. (The IEP/IFSP team consists of representatives from the school district / SELPA, regional center, Genesis Behavior Center, and most importantly, the parents.)

  4. Prior to beginning the program (usually during the assessment procedure), a Parent-Provider Agreement will be reviewed and signed that details the roles and responsibilities of both Genesis and the parents as part of creating a successful program for your child. A list of materials may also be provided at that time that are necessary for learning and reinforcement; as a parent you will need to obtain these prior to the program beginning.

  5. A start date will be scheduled, and a programming team that consists of a Behavior Consultant (supervisor) and (if applicable) 2-3 Behavior Therapists will be assembled for your child. Each parent will be given clear communication regarding schedules of therapy sessions and team meetings, as well as 1:1 training appointments with the Behavior Consultant.

The following criteria apply in determining the time of exit or transition from a behavioral treatment program at Genesis Behavior Center:

  • Fulfillment of all proposed goals and objectives indicates readiness to move to another placement

  • Consistent acquisition rate of less than 75-80% of original goals proposed, over a 9-12 month period indicates that a different program may be more beneficial at this time

  • The IEP/IFSP team determines that services are not longer needed or are not beneficial at this time

  • Consistent failure to comply with the guidelines set forth in the Parent-Provider Agreement

  • Family change of residence may affect services if the family is moving to a geographical area that Genesis does not currently serve

  • Health or other issues preventing full participation in the program

    NOTE: If other agencies are assisting in funding the behavioral treatment program, they may have additional entrance and exit criteria in addition to those listed above.