• Devereux Pennsylvania

Tweet Share on LinkedIn Send email Print

Devereux Center for Autism Research and Education Services (CARES)

Kathy Keehn, M.Ed.
Interim Education Director
600 Boot Rd. Downingtown, PA 19335
(610) 873-4918
Directions

The Devereux Center for Autism Research and Education Services (CARES) is an educational program licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education that provides services to students, ages five to 21, diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. CARES provides an environment that focuses on teaching each student based on his or her unique strengths and needs. Programming is focused on increasing independence for each student, particularly in the areas of:

  • Communication
  • Social skills
  • Self-care routines
  • Community inclusion
  • Recreation and leisure
  • Domestic skills
  • Self-determination
  • Employment

Instruction is informed by research literature on evidence-based practices for students with autism and development disabilities. Instructional strategies include:

  • Individual and small group instruction
  • Skills taught in the context of naturally occurring routines
  • Instruction embedded within preferred activities
  • Individualized prompting procedures Visual mediation
  • Data-based decision making

Educational and Clinical Model

Services at CARES are based on the applied science of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and focus on developing critical skills for independence and quality of life.

Applied Behavior Analysis: Our educational and clinical services use the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to develop effective teaching plans and behavior support strategies. Teaching procedures are systematically defined and incorporate strategies that have been demonstrated in research literature to be effective for teaching students with autism.

Individualized Positive Behavior Support Plans (PBSPs) are developed for students who demonstrate problem behaviors that interfere with learning. Support plans focus on: (1) preventing problem behaviors, (2) teaching appropriate replacement behaviors, and (3) providing reinforcement for appropriate, pro-social behaviors.

Functional Communication Training: The ability to communicate one’s needs is fundamental to gaining independence and being able to participate in community settings. CARES focuses on developing functional communication systems that maximize students’ spontaneous communication with others. Communication systems may include vocal communication, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), or speech generating devices.

Community-based Instruction: Instruction at CARES occurs in multiple settings at our school and in the community. Students of every age participate in community-based instruction to develop independence in community settings. Activities in the community focus on recreation and leisure, health and wellness, purchasing skills, and accessing new environments. As part of the program, students also receive instruction at a CARES apartment in a nearby neighborhood. In these apartments, students work on domestic skills, such as cleaning and preparing meals, as well as social skills, such as playing games, in a natural home environment.

D-PBIS Autism Project: The Devereux Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (D-PBIS) project is a systematic framework for training staff in evidence-based practices for students with autism. All classroom staff participate in professional development trainings related to teaching students with autism, such as the use of visual supports, praise, errorless learning, active engagement and teaching within functional contexts. Staff receive ongoing feedback and coaching to improve the use of these strategies in the classroom. Members of the CARES leadership team review staff performance on a monthly basis to ensure that classrooms are implementing best practices effectively.

Employment Training and Transition Program

The CARES Employment Training and Transition Program for adolescents and young adults with autism, ages 13 to 21, focuses on the development of skills in the following areas:

  • Self-care
  • Daily living
  • Employment
  • Community-based
  • Recreational
  • Human sexuality
  • Self-determination
  • Quality of Life

The primary goal is student participation and developing independence in each area. These skills are developed across environments, including home, work and in the community, where there are opportunities for students to practice their skills with a variety of people. Skill development across settings is critical for maintenance and retention.

An important goal for our students, as they age into young adulthood, is preparing them for work in the community. CARES has numerous community-based employment training sites, where students are given the opportunity to work on learning job tasks. Additionally, the community-based environment promotes the development of communication, appropriate work behavior and social skills.

These training sites provide experiences that allow for an individualized assessment of learning styles, strengths and needs, and environmental and employment preferences. Through job task exploration and observation, students’ strengths and preferences are identified and future training sites are individualized as a match to each individual’s skills.

The success of our employment training program is enhanced by collaboration with families and employers. Both parties play an invaluable role in an individual’s success.

Families are considered equal partners regarding program planning and implementation. The team effort translates into student success as they transition into adulthood.

Preparing Together with Families Future Planning

Future planning begins as a student reaches 12 to 14 years of age, allowing time to work collaboratively to develop a person-centered plan designed to prepare an individual, and their families, for adult life.

Key considerations during this process include annual meetings with discussions of post-21 (years of age) employment/volunteer activities or further education options, levels and types of desired community and social inclusion, and strengths and needs related to independent daily living. Our process includes:

  • A personal profile on the individual
  • The individual’s and family’s vision for the future
  • Supports required for success
  • Ideas for goals and objectives for employment preparation

Parent and Family Involvement

Families and caregivers play an integral role at CARES and are considered equal partners during the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process. This collaboration is supported through daily communication from teachers and classroom staff, as well as regular meetings to discuss IEP and behavior support planning. Families with students ages 14 and older participate in Person-Centered Future Planning to develop a vision for the student after graduation and a plan to achieve those goals.

CARES staff also works directly with families who are experiencing challenges at home and in the community. Our team may provide home consultation to families who request additional support for their child to be successful at home.

Our Staff

  • Each student at CARES has a talented team of educators and clinicians who work together to develop a comprehensive educational program.
  • All classrooms are led by teachers certified in special education.
  • Teachers are supported in the classroom by instructional coordinators.
  • Job coaches work with transition-age youth at employment sites in the community.
  • Instructional coordinators and job coaches have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and many are pursuing graduate degrees in the areas of special education and applied behavior analysis.
  • Educators work with a strong team of related service providers, including behavior analysts, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists with expertise in working with students with autism.

Staff Leadership

Kathy Keehn, M.Ed., Interim Education Director
During her 39 year career, Kathy Keehn, M.Ed., has worked as an educator for students with special needs. She has served as a teacher, head teacher, supervisor of Special Education and the education director for both the Leo Kanner Learning Center and, most recently, CARES.

Keehn earned both her Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education and her Master of Education from West Chester University. She has worked with students with emotional/behavioral disorders, as well as students with developmental and intellectual disabilities. As an educational administrator, Keehn has developed a specific interest in program leadership within Applied Behavior Analysis programs. Over the past few years, she also has served as part of the Devereux-PBIS Autism initiative leadership team.

Lori Pisaneschi, M.Ed., Supervisor of Special Education
Lori Pisaneschi, M.Ed., has been with Devereux CARES since its inception. She has found great joy and satisfaction in watching the program grow and thrive since 1998, when she started as an instructional coordinator. In her early years as an educator, Pisaneschi had a special interest in social skills development. She would sometimes accompany her students to their home district where they participated in regular and special education classes with peers. From the classroom teacher position, Pisaneschi moved into the head teacher position at CARES before being promoted to her current role of supervisor of Special Education in 2013. In this position, she is responsible for the day-to-day organization of the program, staffing, classroom observations and teacher support. Her interests include staff support and retention, as well as ongoing training for teachers. Pisaneschi has developed several partnerships with universities to establish Devereux CARES as a practicum and student teaching site.

Pisaneschi earned an associate’s degree in Child Development from Luzerne County Community College, a bachelor’s degrees in Elementary Education and Sociology from Wilkes University, and a Master of Education from Cabrini College. She holds certifications in Special Education, Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. Pisaneschi also takes part in the West Chester Program Advisory Committee.

Cathleen M. Albertson Deutsch, M.A., BCBA, Clinical Coordinator
As Clinical Coordinator, Cathleen Albertson Deutsch, M.A., BCBA, oversees clinical services for CARES. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree in Psychology from Brandeis University. She has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst since 2006. Albertson Deutsch has extensive experience supervising direct support staff and clinicians in residential and school settings. At Devereux CARES, she supervises related services, including our behavior analysts and speech and language therapists. Albertson Deutsch also works with other members of the CARES leadership team to ensure that staff are effectively trained in evidence-based practices for students with autism.

She has presented her work at regional and national conferences in Applied Behavior Analysis. Her areas of interest include staff training, transition services, collaboration with multiple disciplines and feeding disorders.

Lois Trusler, NNEB, BSW, CESP, Employment Training and Transition Coordinator
Lois Trusler, NNEB, BSW, CESP, has worked for Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health for 17 years after being recruited through an international program that offered her the opportunity to work in the United States. With more than 30 years of experience supporting children with special needs, and their families, and having earned her National Nursery Examination Board (NNEB) certificate and a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from her home country of England, Trusler has developed a community-based employment training program that offers a continuum of job training to all students at CARES.

During her tenure as the CARES employment training and transition coordinator, Trusler has developed more than 30 employment training site partnerships for our students. In conjunction with students and their families, Trusler develops a “future plan” for each child, identifying employment/continuing life skills learning opportunities after graduation. She promotes continued skill development by securing specific, personalized job training sites to help students prepare for post-graduation. She is also responsible for the strategic vision and daily operation of the employment- training program, ensuring the latest trends are incorporated. Her specific areas of interest include: transition planning, family preparation for transition including funding and service identification, and establishing community employment training partnerships.

Jennifer Shea, M.Ed., Head Teacher
As Devereux CARES’ Head Teacher since 2009, Jennifer Shea focuses on assisting teachers with Individualized Education Plan (IEP) development and effective classroom management. Shea began her career with CARES in 1999 as an instructional coordinator. She has worked as a teacher at CARES and in a public school setting. Shea enjoys being able to help other teachers by sharing her own classroom knowledge and experiences. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Saint Joseph’s University, as well as a master’s degree in Education. In addition, she has earned Elementary and Special Education teaching certifications.

Megan Robinson Joy, Ph.D., BCBA, Director of Autism Services, Pennsylvania
Dr. Megan Joy, Ph.D., BCBA, joined Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health in June 2017 as the director of Autism Services for Pennsylvania. In her role as state director, Dr. Joy provides clinical oversight to autism programs in Pennsylvania, including CARES, the Community Adult Autism Partnership Program, and the CARES Consultation Program. Dr. Joy supervises the implementation of Devereux’s PBIS Autism model at Devereux’s Pennsylvania centers. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Stony Brook University under the mentorship of Dr. Edward Carr, one of the founders of Positive Behavior Support.

Dr. Joy’s work focuses on using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to develop contextually appropriate interventions to teach skills and reduce problem behaviors in natural settings. She has presented at a number of regional and national ABA conferences on supporting families with children with autism, functional assessment, training therapists and educators on the principles of ABA, and using multi-tiered systems of support to develop effective staff training and supervision models.

Todd Harris, Ph.D., Executive Director of Autism Services
Dr. Todd Harris is presently the executive director of Autism Services for Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health. In his current role, he coordinates the design and leads Devereux’s national autism initiatives, assesses and provides consultation and professional development to Devereux centers, and provides direct oversight to Devereux’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (D-PBIS) Autism model. Dr. Harris received his graduate degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he focused on the use of applied behavior analysis techniques to instruct and support individuals with autism, and their families, under the direction of Dr. Beth Sulzer-Azaroff.

Dr. Harris has taught Autism Specialization courses at the University of Delaware, and has published and presented research in the areas of teaching functional communication skills and PECS, staff and family support and training practices, community-based transition programming, and methods to reduce unwanted behaviors through positive approaches. He serves on the advisory board for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, and is a member of the Council on Autism Services, a participant on the Delaware State Autism Task Force and a participant on the Pennsylvania State Workgroup on MNGs for ABA Services. In addition, Dr. Harris is the chair of Devereux’s National Autism Committee and sits on the Peer Review Committee for the Delaware Autism Program.

CARES Research, Presentations, and Appearances

PUBLICATIONS and TOOLS

Lehigh University ASERT and Devereux Pennsylvania (December, 2010).  Community Inclusion for Adults with Autism.  A manual published through a grant from Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Autism Services.

Devereux Pennsylvania (May 2010).  Autism Transition Wiki (autismhandbook.org).  An internet-based support tool for families developed through a grant from Pennsylvania DOE.

Hansen, B., Harris, T.A., & Dickey, K.H. (2009).  Family Handbook on Transition Services.  Published through a grant from Pennsylvania DOE.

PAPERS PRESENTED AT MEETINGS

Cepeda, L., Onda, S.L., Nerney, T.V., Mays, A. and Peck, M.L. (2018, February). Gradated exposure and differential reinforcement to overcome avoidant behavior with haircuts in a child with autism. Poster presented at the Association for Behavior Analysis International Annual Autism Conference, Miami, FL.

Harris, T., (2017, November). Using Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports to Deliver Evidence-Based Services to Students with Autism. In C. Anderson (Chair), Service Delivery Models for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Severe Problem Behavior. Symposium presented at the International conference of the Association of Behavior Analysis International, Paris, France.

Duffy, A., Trusler, L. and Harris, T. (October 2017). Planning and implementing community-based supports for adolescents and adults with autism. Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources annual conference. Harrisburg, PA.

Trusler, L. and Harris, T. (Spring 2017). Early start: Preparing adolescents for the transition years. Autism Spectrum News, 9(4), p. 29, 32.

Harris, T.A., Albertson, C.M. and Abate, V. (2016, September). Use of a three-tiered PBIS model to deliver evidence-based services to students with autism. Workshop presented at the Autism A-Z: Beyond the Puzzle Conference, Wilmington, DE.

Harris, T.A., Musunuri, S., Albertson, C.M. and Nielsen, J. (2015, October). The use of individualized positive behavior support processes to treat serious behaviors in children and adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder. Workshop presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, San Antonio, TX.

Harris, T.A., Allen, R., Trusler, L., Langston, K. and Duffy, A. (Spring 2016). Family and professional partnerships to optimize successful transitions to adulthood. Autism Spectrum News, 4(8), p. 1, 16.

Harris, T.A. (2016, March). Invited Keynote: Introduction to autism spectrum disorders. Improving Outcomes for Adults and Transitioning Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Behavioral Health Conditions Conference, Newark DE.

Harris, T.A., Musunuri, S., Albertson, C.M. and Nielsen, J. (2015, October). The use of individualized positive behavior support processes to treat serious behaviors in children and adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder. Workshop presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, San Antonio, TX.

Harris, T.A. and Allen, R. (2015, August). The use of a three-tiered system to deliver evidence-based autism services. National Autism Conference, State College PA.

Harris, T.A. and Allen, R. (2015, April). The use of a PBIS Model to deliver autism services. REACH Conference, Phoenix AZ.

Harris, T.A. and Allen, R. (2015, April). Evidence-based practices in autism services. REACH Conference, Phoenix AZ.

Harris, T.A. and Allen, R. (2015, April). Effectively meeting the needs of adolescents and adults with an ASD. REACH Conference, Phoenix AZ.

McNellis, C.A. and Harris, T.A. (2014). Residential Treatment of Serious Behavioral Disturbance in ASD/ID. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 23 (1), 111-124.

Harris, T.A. (2013, April). Autism Spectrum Disorders: Current Issues and Trends. Invited keynote presentation at the American Association of Children’s Residential Centers’ National Pre-Conference. New York, NY

Harris, T.A. and Lau, J. (2012, November). Issues Related to Adults With Autism. Autism One radio Show hosted by Dr. David Holmes.

Harris, T.A. and Trusler, L. (September , 2012). Supporting adolescents and adults with autism. Invited plenary presentation at the Legacy of Care Conference, Framingham, MA.

Harris, T.A. and Trusler, L. (September , 2012). Teaching community skills to individuals with autism. Presentation at the Legacy of Care Conference, Framingham, MA.

Harris, T.A. and Albertson, C. (May 2012 and August 2012). Professional Development in Autism Services; the PEACS Curriculum. resented at Association for Behavior Analysis International, Seattle, WA, and The National Autism Conference, State College, PA

Dickey, K.H., Albertson, C.M., Pisaneschi, L.A. and Harris, T. (March , 2011). Assessing a staff training, feedback, and goal setting package on increasing opportunities to respond in young students with autism. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania Association for Behavior Analysis, Hershey, PA.

Lehigh University ASERT and Devereux Pennsylvania (December, 2010). Community Inclusion for Adults with Autism. A manual published through a grant from Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Autism Services.

Devereux Pennsylvania (May 2010). Autism Transition Wiki (autismhandbook.org). An internet-based support tool for families developed through a grant from Pennsylvania DOE.

Harris, T. A., El-Attar, B. and Albertson, C. (March, July, and August, 2010). Supporting Families Through the Transition years. Pennsylvania’s Autism Network Conference, Horsham, PA; Pennsylvania’s Community on Transition Conference, State College, PA., and The National Autism Conference, State College, PA.

Harris, T. A., Albertson, C. and Dickey, K (May 2010). Increasing Opportunities to Communicate in Young Children with Autism. Association for Behavior Analysis International, San Antonio, TX. Harris, T. A. (April 2010). Informing and Supporting Families During the Transition to Adulthood. Appearance on the television show: Philly Factor; Philadelphia, PA.

Harris, T. A. (February 2010). Issues Related to Serving Adults with Autism. Appearance on the television show: For the Health of It; Phoenixville, PA.

Harris, T.A., & Trusler, L. (2012, September).  Supporting adolescents and adults with autism.  Presentation at the Legacy of Care Conference, Framingham, MA.

Harris, T.A., & Trusler, L. (2012, September).  Teaching community skills to individuals with autism.  Presentation at the Legacy of Care Conference, Framingham, MA.

Albertson, C.M. & Hirst, J.M. (2012, May). Increasing implementation of behavior support plans through performance feedback and video self-evaluation. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, Seattle, WA.

Harris, T.A. & Albertson, C.M. (2012, May). Implementation of a professional development series in ABA and Autism across several programs in a large human services organization: Professional Education in Autism Clinical Services (PEACS). Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, Seattle, WA.

Albertson, C.M. & Hirst, J.M. (2012, March). Increasing implementation of behavior support plans through performance feedback and video self-evaluation. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania Association for Behavior Analysis, Hershey, PA.

Albertson, C.M. & Hirst, J.M. (2012, January). Increasing implementation of behavior support plans through performance feedback and video self-evaluation. Poster presented at the Annual Autism Conference of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, Philadelphia, PA.

Albertson, C.M., Frederick, L.M., & Louis, P.D. (2011, October). Treatment Integrity Methods for Residential and Educational Settings. Workshop presented at Autism New Jersey, Atlantic City, NJ.

Amoroso, J.N., Plum, V., Jacques, J., & Albertson, C.M. (2011, March).  Increasing engagement through the use of antecedent exercise.  Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania Association for Behavior Analysis, Hershey, PA. 

Dickey, K.H., Albertson, C.M., Pisaneschi, L.A. & Harris, T. (2011, March). Assessing a staff training, feedback, and goal setting package on increasing opportunities to respond in young students with autism. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania Association for Behavior Analysis, Hershey, PA. 

Harris, T.A. & Albertson, C.M. (2010, October). Supporting students with autism through community-based instruction. Workshop presented at Devereux/SPARC Transition Conference, Downingtown, PA.

Amoroso, J.N., Plum, V., Jacques, J., & Albertson, C.M. (2010, August).  Increasing engagement through the use of antecedent exercise.  Poster presented at the National Autism Conference, State College, PA. 

Harris, T.A., El-Attar, B.L., Albertson, C.M. & Bonn, W. (2010, August). Supporting families through the transition years. Workshop presented at the National Autism Conference, State College, PA.

Harris, T.A., El-Attar, B.L. & Albertson, C.M. (2010, August). Supporting families through the transition years. Poster presented at the National Autism Conference, State College, PA.

Harris, T.A., El-Attar, B.L., Albertson, C.M. & Bonn, W. (2010, July). Supporting families through the transition years. Workshop presented at the Transition Services Conference, State College, PA.

Harris, T.A., El-Attar, B.L. & Albertson, C.M. (2010, July). Supporting families through the transition years. Poster presented at the Transition Services Conference, State College, PA.

Albertson, C.M., Hirst, J.M.. Pallotta, A. & Janyszek, L. (2010, May). Determining the most effective treatment for increasing active engagement and decreasing inappropriate work behavior for an individual with autism. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, San Antonio, TX.

Dickey, K.H., Albertson, C.M., Pisaneschi, L.A. & Harris, T.A. (2010, May). Assessing a staff training, feedback, and goal setting package on increasing opportunities to respond in young students with autism. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, San Antonio, TX.

Frey, A.J., Amoroso, J.N., Bennett, J., Royer, J., & Albertson, C.M. (2010, May). Decreasing disruptive behavior through the use of differential reinforcement of diminishing rates of behavior. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, San Antonio, TX.

Harris, T.A., El-Attar, B.L., Albertson, C.M. & Bonn, W. (2010, April). Supporting families through the transition years. Workshop presented at the Penn Autism Network Conference, Horsham, PA.

Harris, T.A., El-Attar, B.L. & Albertson, C.M. (2010, April). Supporting families through the transition years. Poster presented at the Annual Pennsylvania Department of Education Conference, Hershey, PA.

Albertson, C.M. & Frederick, L.M. (2009, October). Collaborating with ancillary therapies to provide effective services. Workshop presented at Autism New Jersey, Atlantic City, NJ.

Frey, A.J. & Bennett, J. (2009, August). Decreasing anti-social behavior though the use of differential reinforcement of lower rates of behavior. Poster presented at the National Autism Conference, State College, PA.

Harris, T.A., El-Attar, B.L., Schweizer, J., & Koser, Ondrea (2009, July).  Effective Partnerships in Transition Programming for Students with Autism.  PA Community on Transition Conference, State College, PA.

Neifer, K., Harris, T.A., & Dickey, K.H. (2008, November).  Utilizing a Systematic Observation System to Monitor Progress of Students with Autism during Community-Based Vocational Training.  Poster presented at the Annual Conference for the Association for Behavior Analysis International, Chicago, IL.

Harris, T. A. & Bates, B. (2008, March).  Increasing Meaningful Skill Instruction Through the Use of Service Learning.  Conference sponsored by the Bucks County Autism Support Coalition, Doylestown, PA.

Harris, T.A. (2007, November).  Supporting Adults with Autism.  Pennsylvania State Sub-Committee Hearing (sponsored by Rep. Barbara McIlvaine-Smith), West Chester, PA.

Harris, T.A. & Neifer, K. (2007, July).  Implementing a Structured Community-Based Instruction program.  PA Community on Transition Conference, State College, PA.

Tuzikow, J., & Harris, T.A. (2007, May).  Teachers' Accuracy in Reporting Students' Challenging Behaviors.  Association for Behavior Analysis International, Sydney, Australia.

Harris, T.A., & Evans, V. (2007, April).  Effectively Educating Children with Autism in School Settings.  Pennsylvania’s Coalition of Charter School Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Harris, T.A. (2007, April).  Critical Components Related to Educating Adolescents with Autism.  Pennsylvania’s Children’s Interagency Training Conference, State College, PA.

Harris, T.A., Neifer, K., & Witherspoon, C.  (2007, March).  Supporting Students with Autism Through Community-Based Instruction.  University of Pennsylvania’s Autism Network Conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Harris, T.A. (March 2006 and 2007).  Functional Behavioral Assessment and Positive Behavioral Support.  Presented to Psychiatry Residents at CHOP, Philadelphia, PA.

Harris, T.A. (2006, October).  Best Practices in Educating Individuals with Autism.  Chester County Autism Alliance, Downingtown, PA.

Harris, T.A., & Neifer, K. (March 29th, 2006).  What Parents Should Consider When Evaluating School Programs for their Child With Autism.  West Chester (PA) Daily Local News.

Harris, T.A. (2005, November).  Best Practices in Educating Individuals with Autism.  Annual Conference for the Independent Educational Consultants Association.  Philadelphia, PA.

SEMINARS AND APPEARANCES

Harris, T.A., & Lau, J. (2012, November).  Issues Related to Adults With Autism.  Autism One radio Show hosted by Dr. David Holmes.

Harris, T.A., El-Attar, B.L., Albertson, C.M. & Burgess, C. (2010, April). Best Practices in Transition: Critical Components Related to Educating Adolescents with Autism. Webinar broadcast from PaTTAN, King of Prussia, PA.

Harris, T. A. (2010, April).  Informing Families and Supporting Families during the Transition to Adulthood.  Appearance on the television show:  Philly Factor; Philadelphia, PA.

Amoroso, J.N. & Hirst, J.M. (2010, February).  The Use of Assessment of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Guiding Educational Planning.  Presented in Devereux Corporate Center, PA.

Harris, T. A. (2010, February).  Issues Related to Serving Adults with Autism.  Appearance on the television show:  For the Health of It; Phoenixville, PA.

Harris, T.A.  (2004, November).  Siblings of Special Needs Children.  National Public Radio (WHYY, Philadelphia) Panel Discussion; Dr. Dan Gottlieb’s Voices in the Family.

WORKSHOPS AND CONFERENCES

Devereux/SPARC Transition Conference:  Pressing Issues; Promising Solutions (October, 2010).  Along with SPARC, we conceptualized and implemented a one-day conference on issues related to the transition to adulthood for individuals living with an autism spectrum disorder.

Devereux CARES’ Summer Autism Conferences, August 2009 and 2010.  Developed and implemented three day conferences on autism, applied behavior analysis, and positive behavior support practices for educators working with students with an ASD in public and private school settings. 

Note- in the summer of 2010, we trained over 100 staff during three conferences in PA and DE

Chester County Autism Training Project, Fall 2004 to Present.  Developed and implemented a series of two-day workshops for all BSCs, MTs, and TSS working with individuals with autism in Chester County, PA.  To date, over 1200 staff have been trained.

GRANT FUNDING

Competitively Awarded Research and Training Grants:

Promoting Excellence in Autism Clinical Services, 2010, Ronald Burd Fund. Funded as a professional development program for clinicians and administrators to acquire and demonstrate clinical competencies when working with individuals with an autism spectrum disorder and their staff.  Amount:  $60,000 for 16 months.

Supporting Families Going Through the Transition Years, 2009, Pennsylvania Department of Education.  Funded as a demonstration project to develop and implement and assess practices that educate and support families through the transition years.  Amount:  $43,000 for 9 months.

Working Together:  Partnerships Designed to Support Adolescents with Autism, 2008, Pennsylvania Department of Education. Funded as a demonstration project to illustrate how the Devereux CARES Adolescent and Young Adult program model can be implemented in public school settings.  Amount:  $45,000 for 9 months.

Supporting Adults with an ASD, 2007, Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Autism Services. Funded to develop and disseminate information on a comprehensive program model for adults with an ASD.  Amount:  $150,000 over 18 months.

Getting to Work: Supporting Adolescents with Autism, 2006, Pennsylvania Department of Education.  Funded to develop and disseminate information on a comprehensive transitional program model for students with an ASD.  Amount:  $150,000 over 18 months.

Supporting Paraprofessional Staff Working with Students with Autism in Public Schools, 2005, Pennsylvania Department of Education. Provided training and feedback to paraprofessional staff working with students with an ASD.  Amount:  $10,000

Chester County Autism Grant, 2004 to Present.  Provides a series of two-day training to wraparound staff working with individuals with autism. Approximately 250 staff trained annually on issues relating to autism and intervention strategies.  Amount:  Approximately $45,000 annually.

Operational Information

Location

Devereux CARES is located at 600 Boot Road in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. The ample educational space accommodates 1:1 and group instruction, as well as after school/recreational activities.

Directions

From the West and South:  Take Rt. 202 to Boot Rd.  Proceed west on Boot Rd for approximately 5.3 miles.  Go past the Devereux Children’s ID/D Services campus, past Rt. 100, through two railroad tunnels and come to a light (Quarry Road/Valley Creek).  Go straight at the light, up the hill, past the “Windridge” development and immediately look for a “Devereux Day School” sign.  Turn left into driveway and then follow road around to the right.  Go past the buildings on the right and past the athletic field.  Our building is on the right after the athletic field.  Parking is beyond the building next to the play ground or on the other side of the large house that is on the west side of the first parking area.

From the North:  Take the PA Turnpike to exit 23.  Follow Rt. 100 south until Rt. 30 Bypass (which is just after Rt. 30 Business).  Go west on Rt. 30 toward Downingtown.  Get off at the first exit (about 1.9 miles; US 30 Business/Lancaster Ave.) and then make a left at the light at the end of the ramp.  Stay left and make another left at the light immediately after you go back under Rt. 30 (which is Quarry Road).  Take Quarry Road until you reach Boot Road (which is the second light).  Make a right onto Boot Road.  Go up the hill, past the “Windridge” development and immediately look for a “Devereux Day School” sign.  Turn left into driveway and then follow road around to the right.  Go past the buildings on the right and past the athletic field.  Our building is on the right after the athletic field.  Parking is beyond the building next to the play ground or on the other side of the large house that is on the west side of the first parking area.

From the East: Take Rt. 30 Bypass to US 30 Business/Lancaster Ave. exit.  When you reach the light at the  end of the ramp, make a left onto to Quarry Road.  Take Quarry Road to Boot Road. Make a right onto Boot Road.  Go up the hill, past the “Windridge” development and immediately look for a “Devereux Day School” sign.  Turn left into driveway and then follow road around to the right.  Go past the buildings on the right and past the athletic field.  Our building is on the right after the athletic field.  Parking is beyond the building next to the playground or on the other side of the large house that is on the west side of the first parking area.

Licensure

Devereux CARES is licensed as an Approved Private School by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which includes licensure for autism.

Student Population

The school serves up to 60 children, ages 5 through 21, with a confirmed primary diagnosis of Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD/NOS).

Operational Time

The school operates five days a week, 180 days per year. A 39 day extended school year program is also available, pending eligibility. The instructional day begins at 8:45 am and ends at 2:45 am.

Funding

Students placed at CARES are funded through an approved PDE form 4010, filed following acceptance and prior to enrollment. Students between the ages of 4 years 6 months and 5 years are funded by the placing county intermediate unit according to CARES' daily per diem.

Transportation

Transportation is arranged and funded by the placing school districts or intermediate units according to each student’s specific transportation needs. Parents may also transport their child directly.

Staffing

Each of CARES' classrooms maintains an intensive staff:student ratio (typically 4:5). Classrooms are staffed by a certified special education teacher, primary instructional coordinator and instructional coordinators. The ratio of primary instructional coordinators and instructional coordinators may vary depending on the needs of each classroom.