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Center for Autism Research Evaluation and Service

Setting the Standard for Thorough Developmental Assessment and Supportive Services for Children and Their Families in San Diego County and Southern California



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CARES Services

Fred Finch CARES provides comprehensive supportive services for children and families living with autism, neurodevelopmental disorders, mental health concerns, and histories of significant trauma and loss. In addition to autism testing and diagnosis, our programs utilize research-based interventions and best practices, individualized to meet the specific needs of each youth and family we serve. Our staff is compassionate, committed, and innovative in our solutions. At CARES, we value diversity and inclusion and are committed to having a robust workforce that is representative of the cultural and linguistic needs of the communities we serve.​ Please select one of the links below to read about our services in greater detail.

Please select one of the links below to read about our services in greater detail.

Applied Behavioral Analysis 
School District Training and Services Early Intervention Services
Social Skills Groups  + Parent Education Workshops 

Applied Behavioral Analysis

CARES provides high quality trauma-informed Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children and youth ages 0-21 years old. Services are designed to increase positive behaviors and reduce those that may cause harm or interfere with daily functioning and learning. The use of ABA principles brings about meaningful and positive change and improves the quality of life for children and their families. Services are provided in the home or other settings by trained professionals, that: ​

  • Foster self-reliance and independence

  • Improve social skills

  • Build healthy relationships

  • Understand emotions and emotional regulation

  • Develop skills to improve academic performance

  • Teach self-awareness


Early Intervention Services

Services are provided to children ages 0-3 years old, and are aimed at increasing a child's communication skills, attention, play skills, and natural exploration of their environments. In addition, CARES places a focus and high importance on parent education, training, and support to teach families how to assess and meet their child’s developmental needs. Fun and naturalistic therapeutic interventions are tailored to meet the family’s life and incorporated into daily routines. 

Early Intervention Services

Social Skills Groups

Friendships are important to helping children thrive and live a fulfilling life. Our social skills groups are led by experienced and trained staff to facilitate healthy peer relationships, teach coping mechanisms and healthy choices for emotional expression, and provide tools to cope with social changes. Some services involve intensive direct teaching within the child’s home environment. Parental involvement is crucial to the generalization and maintenance of skills children will learn. Parents are trained in using techniques that are demonstrated in social skills groups. Some services are available in home and community-based settings. Services include:

  • Little Builders – Ages 3-7

  • Social Skill Builders – Ages 7-17

  • Children’s Friendship Training - Ages 8-13

  • Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) - Ages 13-17

Children’s Friendship Training and PEERS groups are designed for motivated elementary, middle, and high school aged children who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. The skills groups are parent-assisted and aimed at improving social adaptive skills and friendship quality among children and adolescents with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s disorder.

Social Skills Group

School District Services

We understand that students have diverse needs and abilities. CARES provides assistance to school district personnel in understanding neurodevelopmental disorders and how research-based interventions can be utilized to decrease problematic behaviors, increase communication and socialization, and improve academic performance. Our training and services are tailored to meet the needs of both families and school districts.

School District & Services
Psychological out pat

Mental Health and Outpatient Services

CARES provides an array of outpatient services for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families living with developmental disorders such as: autism, ADHD, and intellectual disabilities. We also offer outpatient services for other co-occurring behavioral/mental health conditions such as: bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression. Utilizing evidence based practices such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), services are designed to teach strategies such as: managing problem behaviors; develop skills to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, phobia, feeding issues, and impulse control; improve social skills, self-management and self-esteem. Services include:

  • Individual Therapy

  • Family Therapy

  • Couples Therapy

  • Groups

  • Treatment Team Collaboration

Workshops and Trainings

CARES offers a wide range of workshops and trainings for school district personnel on a half day or full day basis including: normal child development, an overview of autism, applied behavior analysis, discrete trial training, pivotal response training, group instruction, and verbal behavioral and generalization.

Workshops & Training

Teacher and
Aide Consultation

CARES staff is available to consult with teachers and aides regarding behavioral techniques in a classroom, or with an individual student. Teacher and aide training can be individualized depending upon the needs of the student(s).

Teacher Aide consult

Student Services

We provide an array of services to students in preschool through high school and adult transition.  Utilizing best-practice interventions, our services promote optimal functioning and enhance each individual’s quality of life. These services include:

Classroom and Shadow Aide Services: Our staff will assist in a classroom with all students or individually with one student by monitoring the work performance of school personnel and collaborating on ways to utilize school staff in the best way possible.

Social Skills Groups: CARES offers consultation for ongoing social skills and lunch buddy type groups. We also offer our “Little Builders” program during the extended school year for higher functioning students.

Assessment and Testing: We provide assessments including—psychological, psychoeducational and neuropsychological—to school districts in order to provide a more comprehensive examination of students. Psychiatric consultations are also available. In addition, we perform autism testing and diagnosis.

Student Services
Assess test Eval

Assessment, Testing, and Evaluation Services

CARES provides autism testing and diagnosis for children ages 0-5 years old in San Diego who are members of Community Health Group. Evaluation and assessment services for children are completed by licensed clinical psychologists or registered psychological assistants working under the license of a clinical psychologist trained in the area of autism. Psychological, psychoeducational, and neuropsychological assessment services offered at CARES include standardized testing, parent interview, and clinical observation to assess autistic spectrum disorders, developmental delays, autism, and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Parent Education Workshops

CARES offers parent education workshops on different topics related to autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Anyone interested in attending is welcome, and parents do not need to have a child receiving treatment with CARES. Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Typical child development, pervasive developmental disorders, and evidence-based ABA practices

  • Teaching strategies and supports

  • Moving forward: generalization, maintenance, and teaching self-help skills

  • An overview of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), discrete trial, and behavior management strategies

  • Autism and family stress

  • Pivotal response training

  • Alternative communication and verbal behavior

  • Self-help skills: toilet training and food aversion and autism

  • Social stories and social skills training

  • Inclusive education for children with autism

  • Biomedical and pharmacological interventions in autism

Parent Ed Wksp


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