Children’s Specialized Hospital, Rutgers center for autism research announce creation of Severe Behavior Program

Program, at CSH RUCARES, is intended for children and adolescents who pose risk to themselves, others and property

CSH RUCARES, a collaborative effort between Children’s Specialized Hospital and the Rutgers University Center for Autism Research, Education and Services, announced this week the creation of a severe behavior program.

The severe behavior program will provide intensive and highly specialized services to children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities who display dangerous behavior such as aggression, self-injury or property destruction that pose a significant risk to themselves, others or the environment. It is intended for those who cannot be safely managed or effectively treated in a less-intensive program.

The CSH RUCARES Severe Behavior Program is being introduced during Autism Acceptance Month.

Dr. Wayne Fisher, the director at RUCARES, said the program’s aim is to improve the quality of life for children with severe behavior disorders and their families and offers services including evaluation, outpatient, half-day and full-treatment programs, as well as parent training.

Each child moves through the program based on their individual needs, and all therapy sessions are overseen by a board-certified behavior analyst at the doctoral level or a psychologist with specialty training in applied behavior analysis. During therapy sessions, techniques are used to identify environmental variables that may be contributing to the behavior problem. In addition, a specialized therapeutic environment is used to allow for safe evaluation of dangerous behaviors.

“The goal-oriented and scientifically supported approaches used in these expanded services are designed to increase positive outcomes for the most complex cases,” Fisher said. “Our exceptional clinical team is dedicated to helping children maximize their potential while providing support and education to families to provide a full continuum of care.”

Rutgers is a leader in basic, clinical and translational autism research, with more than 50 principal investigators working to advance autism treatment and resources. Rutgers faculty and students also work closely with the autism community in New Jersey, providing professional training, educational intervention and support services through the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology’s Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, a college support program for students on the autism spectrum and the newly created Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services. Rutgers’ Boggs Center, as New Jersey’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, also plays a key role in developing policy and performing public outreach. Rutgers also leads autism efforts across New Jersey via the recently awarded New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence.

CSH RUCARES is locate at the Brain Health Institute at Rutgers. Together CSH RUCARES and RUCARES are the first centers of their kind in New Jersey dedicated to innovative research, education and services. CSH RUCARES focuses on diagnosing, treating and supporting children with ASD. RUCARES will address individuals with ASD of all ages, including adults. The collaboration provides the opportunity to partner on care and research for those with ASD with significantly challenging behaviors throughout their lifespan.

The Brain Health Institute is home for Rutgers’ overall neuroscience initiative and is a growing interdisciplinary institute that includes more than 250 principal investigators. The institute creates research programs focused on the biological underpinnings of brain function and dysfunction, develops treatments for brain disorders and educates the public, clinicians, faculty, students and state, national and international officials.