Behavioral Psychology Program at WIHD
We provide services to children, adolescents and adults with intellectual and/or other developmental disabilities using methods based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Our services focus both on the assessment and treatment of severe problem behaviors such as self-injurious behavior, physical aggression, and property destruction, as well as the acquisition of appropriate and adaptive behaviors.
WHAT IS APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a science focused on understanding the relations between behavior and the environment to bring about meaningful and socially important changes. Behavior refers to a wide range of skills and actions and essentially consists of anything a person says or does. For example, behavior could be playing at the park, asking for a cookie, making a choice between which book to read, brushing teeth, and a wide range of other actions. Treatments based on ABA focus on teaching individuals the skills necessary to be as independent as possible in their home, school, and community. Assessments and treatment are developed based on the principles of learning theory and available research, and each is modified to meet the specific needs of each individual. For all assessments and treatments observable behavior is measured through direct observation, and data are collected to evaluate the effectiveness of the procedures and to track the individual’s progress. ABA methods have been used to teach a wide range of skills to individuals with and without developmental disabilities. These skills include, but are not limited to, communication, play, academics, social, motor, and self-help skills. In addition, ABA interventions have been demonstrated to be effective in decreasing inappropriate or harmful behavior, such as self-injury, aggression, property destruction, feeding problems, etc. In fact, in 1999 a report on mental health prepared by the Surgeon General of the United States stated, “Thirty years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior and in increasing communication, learning, and appropriate social behavior.”
For more information on the science of applied behavior analysis and its clinical applications, and to visit the websites of some international and local organizations, view Resources.
The Behavioral Psychology Program at the Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) provides a highly specialized service focused on providing behavioral assessment, consultation, and intervention services to individuals ages 2 through adult with intellectual and/or other developmental disabilities (including Autism Spectrum Disorder) using methods based on applied behavior analysis (ABA). Services are also provided to children who do not currently have a diagnosis, but display problem behaviors and/or skills deficits that are negatively impacting their daily functioning.
Some examples of the types of challenging behaviors addressed include:
- Aggression (Physical and Verbal)
- Self-Injurious Behavior
- Property Destruction
- Disruptive Behaviors
- Stereotypic Behaviors
- Ritualistic Behaviors
- Adaptive Skills Deficits
- Academic Skills Deficits
- Social Skills Deficits
- Communication Deficits
- Attention Deficits
- Eating Difficulties
- Sleep Difficulties
- Toileting Skills Difficulties
- Co-morbid Mood or Anxiety Difficulties
- Impulse Control Difficulties
- Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors
- Selective Mutism
For treatment addressing behavior problems; functional behavior assessment(s) are conducted to identify the conditions under which the problem behaviors occur and the reasons they persist. These results guide the development of individualized behavioral interventions. For treatment addressing skills deficits; procedures are used to identify the area of need, identify effective teaching procedures, and develop an appropriate data collection system to measure change.
Some examples of the types of diagnoses we provide services to include:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Intellectual Disabilities
- Developmental Delays
- Language Disorders
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
- Down Syndrome
- Cerebral Palsy
- Seizure Disorders
- Tic Disorders
- Disruptive Behavior Disorders
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Learning Disorders
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Co-morbid Anxiety and Depression
On-Site Behavioral Assessment, Treatment, and Parent-Training
Individualized behavioral analyses are conducted to understand the numerous variables that may be influencing and supporting problem behavior and/or the areas of specific skill deficits. Individualized behavioral intervention(s) are developed and evaluated to decrease problem behavior and increase appropriate/adaptive behavior. Training is provided to families, school personnel, and other service providers to ensure understanding and proper implementation of the interventions. This service is clinic-based, and provided as frequently as needed (i.e., daily, weekly, or monthly). This service is funded either through Medicaid, Medicare, some private insurances, self-pay, or school contracts.
Off-Site Behavioral Assessment, Treatment, and Consultation
Individualized behavioral analyses are conducted to understand the numerous variables that may be influencing and supporting problem behavior and/or the areas of specific skill deficits. Individualized behavioral intervention(s) are developed and evaluated to decrease problem behavior and increase appropriate/adaptive behavior. Training and consultation is provided to school personnel, service providers, and families to ensure understanding of the factors contributing to the problem behaviors and the proper implementation of the interventions. This service is provided as frequently as needed (i.e., daily, weekly, or monthly) in the home and/or school settings. This service is funded through contracts with individual school districts or self-pay.
Trainings and Workshops
Trainings and workshops are provided to parents, school personnel, and other service providers in the region to advance knowledge in the understanding and application of applied behavior analysis (ABA) towards behavior reduction and skill acquisition for individuals with intellectual and/or other developmental disabilities. Examples of seminar topics include; Autism Spectrum Disorder, behavior management strategies, conducting functional behavioral assessments, and developing and implementing behavioral intervention plans and skill acquisition plans. This service is funded through contracts with individual agencies, organizations, and school districts.