Autism Center - University of Washington
Clinical Services Research Training About Us Resources Donate
      Home Clinical Services Intervention Early Intervention  
  Clinical Services  

Early Intervention

The autism consultants at the UW Autism Center provide individualized early intervention strategies for children from infancy through seven years of age. Children are then transitioned to appropriate services either within or outside of the UW Autism Center.

We utilize a variety of empirically supported intervention techniques such as applied behavior analysis (ABA), discrete trial training, pivotal response training, TEACCH, and picture-exchange communication (PECS) to help children strengthen their skills in the following areas:

* Language
* Communication
* Academics
* Play
* Imitation
* Self help
* Social/emotional regulation

Individualized programs are developed for children based on their existing skill levels, current needs, and parents' input.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Program

Consultation services are available for families who currently implement or wish to implement an early intervention, ABA-based program for their child with ASD. After performing an initial evaluation of each child’s skills, the consultant provides recommendations for skill acquisition and behavior management, methods for teaching, training for parents and therapy assistants, and ongoing consultation regarding program progress and skill acquisition. Consultation occurs during meetings at the UW Autism Center and the child’s home.

These intensive early intervention consultation services are provided for children with ASD who are starting services between the ages of 0-5. For children who begin services before age 5, services may extend up to age 7 if appropriate. The focus of this program is to

  1. Improve the child’s language and learning skills in order to gradually transition him/her out of intensive, highly structured, 1:1 learning environment (home) to a more naturalistic, typical, group learning environment (classroom) by age 5.
  2. Enable the child to participate in his/her educational program as independently as possible.

Early Childhood Intervention: Social Skills Groups

This service offers an opportunity for young children with autism spectrum disorders to learn skills in a more natural setting and to generalize their skills with a maximum amount of adult support. Social skill group sessions meet for one hour each week and last 10 weeks. Groups typically consist of three to four children, with two clinicians leading the group.

The focus of the groups is to address critical social skills that children with ASD often lack. Each child has social skill goals and objectives that he or she works on during the 10-week period. The children get the opportunity to practice their skills with their peers along with adult support. Social skills are taught through a variety of ABA-based interventions through the use of modeling, role playing, visual support and incidental teaching. The clinicians use play and reinforcement to maintain the interest and motivation of the children throughout the session.

Therapy Assistants

Hands-on, supervised training is available for home therapy assistants (TA) who are privately employed by current UW Autism Center clients. TA supervision is provided by our early intervention consultants and may be applied toward certification requirements to become a Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst. The UW Autism Center provides professional training but is not a licensing agency.