Clinical Diagnostic Services
Through our partnership with Autism Behavioral Consulting, LLC., Behavior Care Specialists offers vital diagnostic services to families, school districts and agencies. Evaluations are held on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month, either at the patient’s home, school, agency office or at our BCS offices.
The initial step to providing diagnostic services begins with a pre-clinic consultation. The objective of the pre-clinic consultation is to provide our team with the client’s current and past developmental progress, in addition to providing an opportunity to observe the client in their natural environment(s) such as home and school.
A pre-clinic consultation session requires approximately 3-5 hours and is billed at a separate rate from the diagnostic services provided, upon which the consultant will provide a written report and, if appropriate, will provide the requesting party with the next available diagnostic services date. It will be the requesting party’s responsibility to determine the location of the client’s diagnostic service (school, home of the client or at the BCS office in Sioux Falls).
Intellectual assessment, adaptive and maladaptive behavior, communication, and academic functioning are included in our interdisciplinary process, along with an autism-specific evaluation tool and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). Each evaluation report will include clinical results and recommendations necessary to initiate intervention programming. Depending on the needs of the client, additional support or training may be arranged through BCS or ABC.
Evaluations will be held on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month. To schedule an evaluation, complete a Diagnostic Services Referral Form or contact the BCS office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (605) 271-2690. If intervention services are necessary, we offer flexible scheduling and accommodations.
Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention
Intensive ABA programming up to and exceeding 40 hours per week as necessary
Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention
Intensive ABA programming up to and exceeding 40 per week as necessary
On-site observation and recommendations to agency/school/home
On-site training for staff and/or family
Center Based Services
Out of district school placements
Office or home based services
• Consultation and Treatment
• Severe Disabilities
Direct Treatment Services
The treatment program of Behavior Care Specialists, Inc. follows recommendations of major research studies demonstrating that young children (starting before 36 months of age) with severe developmental delays can show significant improvement from the core diagnostic symptoms of Autism, if intensive behavior therapy is provided over a 2-3 year period. Behavior Care Specialists, Inc. works to create an individualized, dynamic, comprehensive program for each child in order to obtain the best possible outcome.
This program often requires 40 hours per week of one-to-one behavior therapy for 2-3 years. Behavior therapy is utilized in order to make tasks manageable and rewarding for the child. This generalizes and maintains learned skills; therapy is provided by both staff and parents. Therapy is performed in the home as much as possible in order to facilitate parent involvement. Once the child is ready, treatment is also provided in the school and community in order to generalize and maintain skills. The program is comprehensive and aimed at enhancing the academic, social, and emotional behavior of young children, so that they may take advantage of opportunities available in their schools.
Family Consultation Services
The family consultation model is designed to help serve families who are unable to participate in the Direct Service Model. This is done by assisting families set up an intervention system of their own. A Family Consultant will travel to your home where a training workshop will be conducted. During the initial three-day workshop, the consultant will teach you and your staff how to set up an effective treatment program for your child. The workshop will consist of training on basic behavioral treatment methods, what to teach, when to teach and how to analyze problems in your child’s learning. Instructions on how to keep data and supervise staff members will also be included. The majority of the time during the workshop will be spent directly working with your child. After the initial three-day workshop, the consultant will be available for weekly phone consultations and follow-up workshops. During follow-up workshops your child’s program will be re-evaluated, progress and behaviors will be discussed, any necessary changes will be made, new program goals will be established, and staff will receive further training. At the end of each workshop, the consultant will write a report detailing the information covered.
In this service model typically a family will contract for a three-day workshop to begin services, a one-day workshop two weeks later, a one-day workshop two weeks after that, and then a two-day workshop every other month thereafter. Phone consultations will then be provided on a weekly basis as needed or desired.
The Clinical Supervisor is responsible for the training of all staff and for all treatment delivered within the framework of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis).
The Clinical Supervisor delivers an average of 6 hours per week of program supervision to each of four to five children, as well as assuming administrative duties. The Clinical Supervisor typically has at least three years of experience in ABA, including a year-long-in-home training experience designed to master the competencies required for independent practice. Each Clinical Supervisor is expected to maintain active ABA research and training as well.
The Senior Behavior Therapist assists the Clinical Supervisor by delivering an average of 17 hours per week of program management services to a single child, and in addition provides 12 hours per week of services to additional children. The Senior Behavior Therapist directly trains and supervises a team of 3 to 5 Behavior Therapists and the parents. The Senior Behavior Therapist typically has at least one year of experience in early intervention, as well as a six-month in-home training experience designed to master the competencies required for independent practice.
The Behavior Therapists provide an average of 11 hours of behavior therapy to the child. Each Behavior Therapist delivers an average of 33 hours of behavior therapy with up to three children. The Behavior Therapist typically is trained on-the job, including a three-month-long in-home training experience designed to master the competencies required for independent practice.
In the Family Consultation Model, a Family Consultant delivers 16 days of training a year to a family who is implementing their own intensive early intervention program. In addition, the Family Consultant assists with writing programs and makes weekly phone contact with the family to review and implement new programs. The Family Consultant has the training and benefits of a Clinical Supervisor, plus an additional supervised experience in delivering long-distance consultation.
Our Intervention Approach
Behavior Care Specialists specializes in treating young children with autism, pervasive development disorders, and other severe developmental disabilities. The program is comprehensive – it develops the language, social, play, self-control, pre-academic, and independent living skills of young children which are necessary for them to live productive lives.
Basic assumptions guiding the intervention
It is assumed that children with autism have failed to understand what well-meaning adults have been able to communicate to their typically developing children. As a consequence, such children have encountered continuous failure in learning situations and understandably react to such frustrations with tantrums and other attempts to escape or avoid future failures. Every effort is therefore made to construct a treatment situation that will maximize the child’s successes and minimize failures. This is accomplished by simplifying requests, prompting the child to make the correct response, and providing abundant reinforcement for socially appropriate behaviors. At the same time, failures are minimized. Ensuring the child’s motivation to participate in the learning process is a key element in behavioral interventions.
What and how we teach
In brief, the intervention is based on shaping behavior through reinforcement of successive approximations, prompting and fading procedures, and use of positive reinforcers that are functional (i.e., serve the intent of increasing behavior). Examples of such reinforcers are hugs, tickles, games, “rides in the air,” small bites of food, playing with a favorite toy, looking at a favorite book, and other social activities. As intervention progresses, edibles and other artificial reinforcers are replaced, whenever possible, by more social and everyday reinforcers. The intervention is structured so that “positive” behaviors are maximized through prompting and positive reinforcement. High rates of disruptive behavior are reduced by gradually teaching non-verbal and verbal imitation skills, and establishing the beginnings of appropriate toy play. Discrimination learning plays a dominant part in all programs.
Once the child has mastered foundational skills including imitation and compliance, the second stage of the intervention, the application phase, applies those foundational skills to the teaching of generative language, play and social skills. Then, in the naturalization phase of the intervention, the child’s skill are generalized to more and more natural activities at home and at school, and various further skills are developed such as (1) early academic skills, (2) socialization skills, (3) cause-effect relationships, and (4) observational learning.
How the child’s day is structured
The child receives one-to-one instruction for 5-8 hours per day, 5-7 days per week (approximately 40 hours per week. The intensity of the program is made manageable for the child by dividing the day into sessions. A session usually lasts about 3 hours, during which a number of play breaks are included. Typically, in early therapy, we work on a specific task for 2-5 minutes and then have a short break (1-2 minutes). We take longer break (10-20 minutes) every 2-3 hours. We go outside, play a game or have a snack. The breaks provide the child with time away from structured teaching and allow for generalization of new skills to the child’s everyday environment. The play breaks are calculated into the total numbers of hours per week. The teaching schedule is adjusted to the needs of the individual child and may, for example, include time for an afternoon nap.
Introduction to the school environment
The child typically needs a minimum of 6-12 months of one-to-one direct teaching in order to learn the basic language, attending, and play skills necessary to take advantage of a group or classroom situation. As the child progresses, the teaching procedures become less structured and are generalized to the child’s school and everyday environment. The community program, school and/or classroom, and regular education or special education is chosen based on the child’s level of functioning. A therapist accompanies the child to facilitate. The transition to the classroom routine promotes generalization of therapy skills from the home to the classroom and encourages interaction with other children. Group time is increased gradually from as little as 30 minutes a day initially, to more intensive time (i.e., 2 to 6 hours per day). The therapist is slowly faded out as the child demonstrates the ability to learn critical skills in that environment without assistance. School hours may be included in the total treatment hours per week. Parents, teachers and staff maintain close supervision of the child’s progress in school so that success can be maximized.
Our best predictor of long-term treatment outcome is the child’s responsiveness to treatment during the first 4-6 months of the intervention. The children who accelerate in their development and acquire certain key skills during this time usually continue to progress at the same rate throughout the intervention.