16-Hour Parent Education Groups

As a part of the clinician-parent partnership model of intervention, ACT offers a 16-hour Parent Education Group in ABA before any behavioral treatment takes place. ACT prepares parents for treatment by giving them the initial tools to make their participation and involvement with the ABA program more effective.

The training occurs at one of ACT’s offices, conveniently located close to the Regional Centers. During the 16-hour workshop, parents acquire knowledge about a broad variety of topics including:

  • How autism and other neurological anomalies impact the trajectory of children’s development.
  • The clinical definition of an intensive ABA program; which includes, discrete trial training (DTT) pivotal response training (PRT), and verbal behavior (VB) programs.
  • The applications of Discrete Trial Training, Pivotal Response Training, and Verbal Behavior programs.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis as the treatment of choice for closing the gap between typical and atypical development (findings of National Standard Project).
  • The principles of reinforcement and punishment.
  • The definitions of motivating operations and abolishing operations.
  • The four functions of behavior.
  • Antecedent and consequence strategies of intervention.
  • Managing behaviors at home and in the community.
  • The impact of having a child with autism or other special needs on parents and care providers and discussion of a variety of coping styles.

Functional Behavior Assessment

The soundness of any intervention begins with a thorough and accurate assessment. ACT utilizes a variety of assessment tools depending on the age and the needs of each individual. The assessor creates a function-based behavioral intervention as well as developmentally appropriate treatment program based on this assessment. This results in an accurate road map to guide families through the child’s intervention program.

Infant Development Program

Research clearly shows that early intervention achieves better outcomes for the vast majority of cases. ACT’s infant development program is designed to achieve better outcomes as early as possible when the behavior differences between a typical and an atypical child are still modest. It is easier to close a narrower gap of development than a wider gap. ACT’s infant development program provides a comprehensive, inclusive, and multi-modal approach to the assessment and treatment of infants. ACT collaborates with families to address the emotional and developmental considerations that an infant with special needs may face. ACT creates a positive and nurturing environment for infants to experience life-altering engagement with their families. Assessment and intervention strategies are provided by speech therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists and are implemented by our experienced early interventionists.

Behavior Health Treatment

The goal of the Behavioral Assessment and Intervention Programs is to help individuals with autism and related disorders overcome their core deficits so that they may achieve more typical functioning and maximize their unique talents. Direct, 1:1 services are provided to our clients to achieve this goal. As the student masters his or her core skills (e.g. attention, imitation, compliance), more naturalistic ABA methodologies will replace tightly structured ones. Treatment viability depends on parental acceptance of treatment goals, participation in behavioral procedures, and commitment to the treatment outcome; therefore, parent involvement is as essential to the success of the treatment as the clinician’s involvement. As the student’s observational learning skills develop, ACT gradually shifts the direction of services from clinician-implemented to parent-implemented. This approach ensures that the outcome achieved and skills acquired will survive in the natural environment of the family and independent of formal services in the future. Some of our DTT/ABA clients are later referred to our Adaptive Skills Training or Social Skills Training Programs based on individual progress and need.

In-Home Parent Training

Parents embark in a journey of knowledge and discovery. Together, parents and supervisors will analyze the child’s behavior and discover the purpose that is serving. As a result together parents in partnership with the clinician will design a plan of action composed of ABA techniques to help the individual increase appropriate behaviors and eliminate inappropriate ones. This will require learning, patience, and consistency on behalf of the entire team. Parents will be given several handouts throughout the course of the parent training. Parents are suggested to read all the materials and ask as many questions as necessary to ensure comprehension of the protocols received.

Adaptive Skills Training

The goal of the Adaptive Skills Program is to enhance functional skills such as personal hygiene, self help skills, communication, and community integration primarily to meet their IPP goals.
Socialization, play and leisure skills are also worked on in the context of developing functional skills. This service focuses on teaching the individual skills needed to function in every day life independently. Direct services will be provided to help individuals achieve these goals. Parent education will also be an integral part of the program.

Social Skills Groups

Friendships enhance the quality of life for every person. Individuals with special needs, particularly individuals on the autism spectrum, often face barriers in creating and maintaining friendships, as well as understanding the complex social world around them. Social skills necessary for social relatedness and navigating appropriate relationships are an area of relative weakness for many individuals with autism and other related disorders. Therefore, teaching social skills is a cornerstone to successful integration of individuals with special needs in a typical social life.

ACT’s Social Skills Group is designed to address the social skills of children, adolescents and adults in distinct ways that are consistent with the social tasks facing each group. Children learn to play appropriately with peers, invite peers to play, ask to be included in activity of others; as well as perspective taking and coping with stressful situations appropriately. They learn to ask questions and respond congruently and without getting off topics. They will also practice social pragmatics such as understanding body language, following social cues, and maintaining adequate personal space. Individualized goals will be determined by the child’s assessment.

Adolescent Social Skills Groups focus on developing strong, flexible social skills which are crucial to being socially accepted in this developmental stage. Topics covered may include: teaching good social manners, social awareness, and appropriate communication initiation, maintenance, and termination. Adolescent Social Skills training will also focus on social issues important to this age group such as developing friendship and maintaining healthy relationships with peers.

Adult Social Skills Groups address the social needs of adults such as friendship, healthy relationship with partners, sex education, personal boundaries, as well as employment skills such as building relationships with co-workers, working collaboratively within a team, and communicating effectively with management.

Parent Seminars

Parent seminars will be offered periodically in order to provide parents with different topics of interest and to meet other families. Topic could include:

  • IEP Survival Guide!
  • Sibling Relationships
  • Peer Playdates Facilitation
  • Reducing Family Stress
  • Managing Sleep Difficulties
  • Eating Habits
  • Occupational Therapist Guest speaker
  • Speech and Language Pathologist Guest Speaker
  • Autism Research and Implications

Teacher Workshop

The purpose of the teacher workshops is to support teachers in maintaining control of their classrooms while being able to teach their lessons to the students. This workshop will give teachers practical advice that can be applied right away in the classrooms in order to maintain challenging behaviors at a minimum. Active engagement in systematically planned developmentally appropriate activities is necessary for all students with ASD but educational goals should focus not only on traditional academic outcomes, but also in building functional use of academic skills, then personal independence, responsibility, social abilities, communication skills, adaptive skills, and the reduction of behavioral difficulties.

Teacher workshops are available in all LA County including East LA, South LA, North LA, and Westside.

School-Based Behavior Support-Shadows

ACT provides Schools with behavior therapists to provide direct support to students throughout the duration or a targeted portion of their school day. Behavior therapists ensure to support the student when needed while allowing them to be as independent as possible in all routines during the school day. The goal of this program is to have children learn to navigate their day without the help on a therapist. This requires collaboration between the parents, school personnel and behavior therapist to carefully craft a treatment plan that will allow for such goal to be achieved. Behavior therapists work on preventing and managing challenging behavior that might interfere with learning, increasing the student’s appropriate behavior, and ensuring that the students can access their curriculum.

Under the supervision of a behavior analyst, the behavior therapists work collaboratively with the educational team to implement a treatment plan that is designed to promote a student’s functional independence and success as a learner.

Behavior Respite Services

The goals of the Behavior Respite Services is to support families who qualify for respite services and whose children exhibit challenging behaviors due to significant deficits in cognitive, communication, and social skills. The challenging behaviors may pose safety and health concerns that exceeds the ability of a traditional respite service staff to support the child and the family.

This program will allow parents who have children with developmental disabilities (i.e., Intellectual Disability, Autistic Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Seizure Disorder) to take temporary relief from the responsibilities of caring for their children, to provide families with staff who have been trained in managing children with challenging behaviors by interpreting and implementing behavior procedures designed and developed for the child by a behavior agency. Behavior respite services closely collaborates with behavior vendors to allow for consistency of behavior management and accompany the child in his daily activities as planned by parents. Services take place at the individual’s home.