The Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center (SPARC) is a nonprofit organization offering empirically-validated behavior treatment programs to help individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other behavioral concerns, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, anxiety and feeding disorders.
Established in 2007, SPARC provides clinic- and community-based diagnostic, therapeutic and educational services, including behavior therapy, feeding evaluations and treatment, early education programs, and social skills training. We provide educational and consultative services to parents, schools, community organizations and therapy/medical service providers. SPARC strives to extend our services to family members of individuals with autism or other behavioral concerns through support groups and training workshops.
SPARC serves as a teaching clinic, and offers volunteer and practicum/internship opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students from West Chester University and other local universities earning degrees in behavior analysis, psychology, special education, communicative disorders, social work, nutrition and other related fields.
SPARC is located in West Chester, Pa., and serves Chester County and the surrounding areas.
A Brief History
More than a decade ago, Dr. Phillip Duncan, a professor at West Chester University, now professor emeritus, asked his undergraduate students to serve as therapists for children with autism spectrum disorders. One of Duncan's students, Jennifer Dawson, inspired by her undergraduate experiences, dedicated her career to working with individuals with developmental disabilities within the field of behavior analysis. In partnership with West Chester University, Duncan applied for grant funding to conduct a needs assessment of the region. Dawson worked with Duncan on the resulting grant to determine a significant need for high-quality services for individuals with autism. This evidence provided Duncan and Dawson the opportunity to establish SPARC.
In October 2019, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit providers of behavioral healthcare, acquired SPARC. As part of the acquisition, SPARC remains a separate legal entity; however, it receives administrative and other support from Devereux.
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