Insurance Companies we are proud to be providing Behavior Services for: Cigna, Anthem Blue Cross,
Magellan, CompCare, Holman Group, Mh.net, UBH, Life Sync, Aetna, ASG, Humana & Blue Shield of
Director Joanne Lara, M.A., is a core adjunct professor at National University in Los Angeles, California where she teaches in the Special Education Department and helped design the Autism Certificate. Ms Lara has delivered in-home supervisor behavioral services for the California Regional Centers through Inclusive Education and Community Partnership (IECP) for over 7 years. Lara earned her master's in Special Education from California State University, Northridge, and her B.A. in Dance from the University of South Florida. She holds a CCTC California Moderate/Severe Education Specialist K-12 teaching credential and taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District for over ten years, where she worked exclusively with students with autism. Founder of Autism Movement Therapy, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, and aut-erobics the DVD, Ms. Lara teaches Autism Movement Therapy classes in Van Nuys, CA. She is the Technical Advisor/Autism Consultant for Kiefer Sutherland’s new FOX TV show ‘TOUCH’. Please visit www.autismmovementtherapy.org to learn more.
Clinical Director Carla Diran M.A., BCBA is the clinical director of the institute. She supervises all therapists and supervisors. Carla has been working in the field of behavioral analysis for the past 10 years. She is a BCBA and received her Masters Degree from Webster University in Vienna, Austria in July 2008. She also received her BA degree from UCLA in psychology in 2002. Carla has worked with several agencies servicing individuals with developmental disorders including autism, down syndrome, mental retardation, and cerebral palsy. She received her BCBA certification under the supervision of Cathy Carpenter MA, BCBA. Carla’s main interest is the autistic spectrum and working with those who fall on it. Her focus is on building language skills in those individuals who are non-verbal as well as putting together intervention plans in order to reduce instances of maladaptive behaviors and increase fundamental skills needed for an individual with special needs to function independently in life.
Mission Statement: The number of children who are being diagnosed with autism is growing each year. One in every 88 children in the United States has autism or falls on the autistic spectrum. It is absolutely necessary for qualified individuals to do everything they can in order to help these children become a part of mainstream society and to be able to live a happy and independent life.
Philosophy: Every child with autism can be worked with in order to eliminate skill deficits and to reduce behavior excesses. This takes time, effort, parental involvement, and dedication from a professional. It has been proven through research that the most effective treatment method for children with autism is Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). Applied Behavior Analysis is the design, implementation, and evaluation of environmental modifications to produce socially significant improvement in human behavior. ABA includes the use of direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relations between environment and behavior. ABA uses antecedent stimuli and consequences, based on the findings of descriptive and functional analysis, to produce practical change. ABA is based on the belief that an individual’s behavior is determined by past and current environmental events in conjunction with organic variables such as genetics. Thus, it focuses on explaining behavior in terms of external events that can be manipulated rather than internal constructs that are beyond our control. Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Program Design: Any behavioral intervention program must start with an assessment of the individual. Although people with autism share similar characteristics, it is overwhelmingly obvious that each person is an individual and has a unique level of behavioral deficits and excesses. Due to this diversity, an initial assessment must be conducted in order to figure out the baseline of each skill and behavior. Once the assessment has been completed, an intervention plan is created and implemented by a behavior therapist. Every 3 months, the case is re-evaluated and new goals are set for the individual.
1. Assessment ~ The initial phase of intervention is assessment. This process consists of a parent/caregiver interview followed by 2-4 sessions of observation and interaction with the child. The observations take place in the home and school setting as well as out in the community. The reasoning behind this process is that a child must be observed in his or her natural environment in order to be able to change behavior in all areas of the child/individual’s life.
2. Assessment Report ~ Once the assessment has been completed, a report is written which includes the following: baselines of skills in the domains of attention, compliance, receptive communication, expressive communication, self help skills, safety awareness, imitation skills, and motor skills. The report also includes a definition and functional analysis of problematic behaviors. Lastly, the report lists a series of proposed behavioral intervention and goals for both the individual with autism and the parents/caregivers.
3. Intervention and Therapy ~ Depending on the functioning level of the autistic individual, different interventions and therapies are offered:
Joanne Lara, MA, CCTC Ed Specialist Director