Behavioral Services at The Scott Center
The Scott Center for Autism Treatment provides assessment and treatment services for children diagnosed with autism. The goal of the Autism Center is three-fold:
- to provide multidisciplinary treatment services (implement research-based practice, partner with schools and families, collaborate with other professionals)
- to provide training and education for caregivers
- to conduct research to identify best-practice strategies for working with children with autism.
Currently, we serve young children (age 2-14) with autism and related disabilities. These children receive assessment and treatment services for either severe problem behavior or skill acquisition deficits from graduate students in the Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s Degree program at Florida Tech, who are directly supervised by PhD-level faculty with expertise in the area of autism and behavior analysis.
Specifically, we offer functional behavior assessment and intervention, life-skills assessment and training, social skills assessment and training, feeding disorder assessment and treatment, and community training workshops/seminars for professionals and families. Additional services are provided by Psychological Services at the Scott Center, which include clinical diagnosis services and counseling services for families.
Early Intervention Services
This outpatient service is provided for children ages 2-8 years for three to six hours daily, Monday to Friday. A minimum of 12 hours per week of services is required to enroll in this program and the typical length of treatment is one to t hree years. An initial assessment is conducted to evaluate the child's current strengths and weaknessess. Both standardized testing and criterion assessments will be conducted as needed and reviewed with the family. Following assessment, one-to-one treatment services are provided using a blend of discrete trial and naturalistic teaching strategies. The focus of intensive services is to ensure each child meets communication and related goals needed to participate in the least restrictive educational environment as possible. Individualizes Education Plans (IEPs) will be incorporated into intervention as needed.
Social Skills Groups
The purpose of social skills groups is to teach and facilitate interactions between children and adolescents diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Social skills are an important and often overlooked part of personal growth for children with ASD. Appropriate and adaptive methods to interact with peers are taught.
Goals of the Social Skills Groups
- To increase verbal behavior
- To foster the development of friendships
- To increase interest in a variety of play and leisure activities
- To reduce inappropriate or harmful behavior that interferes with the development of a student's social repertoire that may exclude them from social activities
- To increase flexibility in social situations
- To increase understanding of social rules and conventions of society
- To promote maximum independence in social activities
- To develop cooperation and teamwork skills
The Scott Center's Social Skills Groups are held twice weekly for 90 minutes. Groups range in size with no more than 10 students per group. Students are evaluated before entering the program to determine placement.
Severe Behavior Clinic
A Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is the process of determining why a child engages in challenging behavior and how it relates to the environment. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders are susceptible to unwanted behaviors due to difficulties with communication skills, social skills and narrow interests. An FBA helps to determine what purpose the behavior serves for the child and the specific circumstances that led to learning the behavior in the first place.
Later on, that assessment is used to develop an intervention plan to help the child "unlearn" the behavior. That plan should help the child:
- better manage his or her day
- help foster respect from peers
- provide for a more effective teacher-student relationship
Truly understanding why a child behaves the way he or she does is the first and best step in dealing with strategies to stop the behavior.
The Scott Center offers Functional Behavioral Assessments by appointment only.
Pediatric Feeding Clinic
This service is provided daily as outpatient (1-3 hours) or intensive day treatment (5-7 hours). Once admitted into the program, functional analysis is conducted to define specific environmental factors that contribute to problem behavior during meals. Treatment recommendations are then developed and evaluated. Once the child has reached an age appropriate-level of accepting foods and textures, as defined by consumption, weight gain and decrease in problem behavior during mealtimes, training is provided to the caregivers to facilitate generalization into the home.
Toilet Training Program
This service is designed for individuals aged 3-9 years who have experienced difficulty with toilet training. Recommendations will be made for each child in conjunction with the family, including as estimate of the hours of treatment to be provided by The Scott Center. The team will monitor goals and objectives to make necessary modifications to maximize the effectiveness of treatment.