KcATC Direct Autism Services provides 20-35 hour treatment plans for children ages two and a half to twelve diagnosed with autism. We design and provide interventions that employ applied behavior analysis (ABA) and are individualized for each child. Our goal is that every child served at the Center make socially valid changes that are important to the child and his/her family that results in the child being able to succeed in a less restrictive environment. For this reason, we provide parent training, ensuring skills learned on site transfer to the home, and we support inclusion experiences (both in schools and the community).
Program Short-Term Success
We break important skills (e.g., self-help routines, academics, social and language skills) into small steps. We measure progress daily. Parents and staff take joy in the daily changes that occur in our students. The changes that we see in our clients within months of enrollment are increased approach to adults and peers and increases in requisites to learning (e.g., attention, imitation, eye contact, compliance with instruction following). Because we insist on parent training at enrollment, parents report being better able to interact with their child and to deal with the challenges associated with raising a child with autism.
Program Long-Term Success
Some children with autism begin intervention speaking; some do not have any functional communication. Some children have many maladaptive behaviors (e.g., self-injury, aggression); some children do not. Success is defined differently for each child. We are committed to each child meeting his or her own potential. Many alumni will be included in typical educational settings with and without support. Other clients’ success will be defined by increased family involvement, greater independence (e.g., toileting and feeding oneself,) and minimal maladaptive behavior.
How Program Success Is Monitored
Data are taken regularly on all teaching targets (i.e., daily-weekly). Assessment of social behavior, language, gross and fine motor skills, and school readiness are conducted bi-annually. In addition, parent satisfaction is assessed informally during parent training visits. Parents measure success by the amount of generalization of skills from school to home, the increase in family involvement, their child’s increased independence, and increased happiness in the home. Also, take data on, and then teach to, generalization. That is, does the student perform skills in the criterion environment and does the programming ultimately lead to the child learning in more typical settings. Finally, the director writes education plans with between 40-60 goals.