Autism and Developmental Disabilities Program

Autism is a complex developmental disability characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

  • Autism now affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys
  • Autism is more prevalent than diabetes, AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy or Down syndrome combined.
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  • Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
  • Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
  • Only 56% of individuals with Autism finish high school
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism

Despite the prevalence of Autism and other developmental disabilities, there are still limited resources for families. There are a variety of potential treatments for individuals although many of them are not supported by empirical evidence to demonstrate their effectiveness.  It is crucial for a family to do their research when choosing the best service for their child. It is important to find a program that meets the needs of the individual and their family.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is considered by many researchers and clinicians to be the most effective evidence-based therapeutic approach demonstrated thus far for children with Autism.  Studies has shown that children who receive intensive ABA treatment make larger improvements in more skills areas than children who participate in other treatments.  In addition, the parents of the children who receive intensive ABA report greater reductions in daily stress.

ABA is considered by the Surgeon General to be the most effective treatment for individuals diagnosed with Autism.

Maple Star’s Autism and Developmental Disability program uses the fundamentals of Applied Behavior Analysis and is tailored to meets the individual needs of your child while providing support and training to the entire family.

Maple Star provides intensive in home therapy that focuses on the individual and the family.  The Board Certified Behavior Analyst will conduct a functional behavior assessment, a behavior intervention plan and a treatment plan that will create a program that is unique to the needs of the individual.  Maple Star will focus on goals that are significant to the family while increasing skills that will generalize across people and environments.

The first step in getting started is conducting a functional behavior assessment (FBA).  This assessment is conducted by a behavior analyst and is used to identify why a person is engaging in problematic behaviors.  At the end of the assessment, a detailed report will be written that identifies why the behavior is occurring, precursor behaviors and specific factors that increase or decrease the likelihood a behavior will occur.  The behavior analyst will also provide recommendations for services and other resources for the family to access.

Upon starting services, a behavior intervention plan will be designed.  This plan is generated from the results of the FBA.  A behavior intervention plan is a series of individualized interventions designed to decrease problematic behaviors while teaching appropriate behaviors through the use of behavior principles, specifically reinforcement.

In addition, a treatment plan will be created that focuses on individual and family goals.  The treatment plan will be centered on teaching new alternative behaviors to address skill deficits and excesses.  Goals will be determined through the treatment teams recommendations in conjuncture with the family’s input.

Services can be provided at the home, community and school.  Therapy will be established during times and places where the individual needs added support for success.  The behavior analyst will work with a team of family coaches in the home who will help the family to be successful in implementing behavior interventions and teaching new skills.  There is a heavy focus on parent participation where they will learn how to implement goals and interventions on their own.  As the family continues to experience success, a plan will be developed to slowly and systematically fade out services so that the family is left with a system that can be maintained easily and over a long period of time.

Services can be chosen on an individual basis or multiple services can be combined.  Recommendations will be made with the expertise of the behavior analyst.  The following services are offered through the Autism and Developmental Disability Program

  • Functional Behavior Assessment
  • Behavior Intervention Plan
  • Treatment Plan
  • Social Skills Groups
  • Parent Support Groups
  • School Consultation and Support
  • Family Support and Parent Training
  • Professional Trainings
  • Crisis Intervention/support and 24 Hour Response Hotline