CARES offers coordinated, comprehensive treatment and support services for individuals living with autism, neurodevelopmental disorders and co-occurring mental health concerns. Utilizing research-based interventions and best practices, our programs are individualized to meet the specific needs of those we serve. Please select one of the links below to read about our services in greater detail.
Applied Behavioral Analysis + Assessment, Testing, and Evaluation Services
Psychological and Psychiatric Outpatient Services
School District Training and Services + Early Intervention Services
Social Skills Groups + Parent Education Workshops
Comprehensive Assessment and Stabilization Services (CASS) + Research
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, which:
Foster self-reliance and independence
Improve social skills
Build healthy relationships
Understand emotions and emotional regulation
Develop skills to improve academic performance
Assessment, Testing, and Evaluation Services
Evaluation and assessment services for children and adults 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 and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Mental Health and Psychiatric Outpatient Services
CARES provides an array of outpatient services for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families living with developmental disorders such as Autism, ADHD, intellectual disability and 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:
Medication Consultation and Management
Treatment Team Collaboration
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.
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, verbal behavioral and generalization.
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).
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.
Early Intervention Services
Services are provided to children ages 0-3 years old. Services 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.
Social Skills Groups
Friendships are important to helping children thrive and live a fulfilling life. Our social skills are led by experienced and trained staff to facilitate healthy peer relationships, teach coping mechanisms, and provide tools to cope with social changes and learning healthy choices for emotional expression. 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.
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
Comprehensive Assessment and Stabilization Services (CASS)
CASS is a mobile mental health and crisis stabilization team comprised of professionals with expertise working with infants to teenage youth exposed to psychosocial issues that include trauma, emotional dysregulation, aggression, and substance abuse. The goal is to increase success and stability in the home and at school, by providing customized support to the individual and family. CASS works with each child’s family to identify strengths and opportunities to implement individualized strategies that are family and solution focused. To accomplish this, CASS services combine a comprehensive assessment along with treatment services tailored to each individual and family need. Services may include short-term and intensive individual/family therapy, case management, crisis stabilization, and medication management. CASS is currently available to Anthem Blue Cross beneficiaries only.
CARES is committed to the ongoing research concerning persons with neurodevelopmental disorders. Currently, CARES is a key collaborator in multiple NIH studies involving brain development in autism (Axel Muller: Principle Investigator and Jeanne Townsend: Principle Investigator), Aging in Autism (Ruth Carper: Principle Investigator), and EEG Biofeedback (Jamie Pineda: Principle Investigator). Alan Lincoln, PhD, MSCP, Vice President of Clinical Research and Internship Training Programs, is a scientific investigator or consultant on each of these current and ongoing research projects.
Most recently, a research study was completed that was funded in part by the National Foundation for Autism Research (NFAR) to study the effectiveness of the anxiety treatment, Coping Cat, for children and adolescents with autism. NFAR recently partially funded a study that is evaluating the effectiveness of the UCLA PEERS program to teach friendship skills in children and adolescents with autism.
Our center has supported multiple studies evaluating the effectiveness of social stories for persons with autism and the development of an evidence-based parent training program for caregivers who have a child with autism. Other research has involved studies involving the evaluation of executive function skills in persons with autism, the evaluation of rapid intermodality shifting skills in persons with autism, the identification and resources for Native Americans with autism, and the evaluation of attention skills for persons with autism.
CARES periodically recruits volunteers to participate in ongoing research studies. Please contact us at 858-444-8823 if you would like to participate.