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Devereux SPARC

APPIC Match Number: 154815

Description of Site
The Devereux Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center (SPARC) is a nonprofit organization offering empirically-validated behavior treatment programs to support individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other behavioral concerns, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder, anxiety and feeding disorders.

Established in 2007, SPARC provides clinic, community and telehealth-based diagnostic, therapeutic and educational services, including behavior therapy, feeding evaluations and treatment, early education programs, high school programs, and social-emotional groups. We provide educational and consultative services to parents, schools, community organizations and therapy/medical service providers.

In addition, SPARC provides group and therapy services, as needed, to a variety of individuals. We offer therapeutic services to address anxiety, depression or other mental health disorders, particularly as they may relate to transitioning, and the challenges of everyday living. The individuals we serve include children, teens, adults and families with autism. We utilize a person-in-environment approach to develop the best treatment options.

All of SPARC’s services utilize the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), and specialize in adapting ABA to the clinical setting. SPARC utilizes strategies that focus on building and reinforcing skills, modifying an environment, and teaching naturally occurring cues to support the development of independence.

Successful Applicants:

  • Quickly build rapport with individuals and families
  • Understand basic principles of ABA
  • At least one year of experience working with ASD population
  • Experience with behavioral data collection, graphing and visual analysis to inform clinical decision-making
  • Clinical flexibility and agile problem-solving when working with individuals

Intervention:

Feeding Disorders Program: Work directly with individuals presenting with avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), generally in the form of food refusal or food selectivity, often with co-occurring diagnoses, including ASD, failure to thrive and ADHD. Use ABA interventions to increase appropriate eating behaviors (e.g., variety, volume, self-feeding, texture) and decrease behaviors incompatible with eating (e.g., tantrums, vomiting, throwing food, packing, expelling) in clinic and telehealth settings. Train caregivers in the rationale and the implementation of treatment.

HYPE Program: Work directly with high school-aged students with ASD in a college prep program to increase independence and skills in areas needed to succeed in college. Interventions include:

  • Molding topic guides to what the group needs
  • Meeting with students on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis to address individual needs that may emerge during group 

Individual and Group Therapy: Provide evidence-based treatment practices in an individual and group setting to target goals surrounding anxiety, depression, executive functioning and other areas. Mold and adapt behavior and cognitive approaches while working with neurodiverse individuals. Groups include:

  • Adults with autism social group
  • School-age social group
  • Parent support groups  

Assessment:

Diagnostic: Participate in diagnostic assessments to determine the appropriateness of an ASD diagnostic across the lifespan using behavioral interviews and observations, ADOS-II, CARS 2, ABAS and SRS. Write diagnostic reports and participate in feedback and recommendation sessions.

Feeding: Participate in feeding intake appointments to determine appropriateness of fit for our Feeding Disorders Program.

Behavioral: Conduct ongoing behavioral assessments prior to, and throughout, treatment.

Consultation:

Provide behavior consultation to individuals, caregivers and other professionals. Individual case consultations may include:

  • Assessment and treatment of problem behavior (FBA/ PBSP)
  • Skill-building sessions typically utilize direct instruction in addition to naturalistic/incidental teaching:
    • Social-emotional learning
    • Criterion-referenced assessment and teaching
    • Functional communication training
    • CBT/ACT/DBT-based therapy
  • Caregiver training and ongoing support

Provide school-based consultations to teachers, paraprofessionals and related service providers. School consultations may include:

  • Programmatic support to special education classrooms
  • Data collection and direct coaching on evidence-based classroom indicators
  • Staff training on identified areas of need
    • Behavioral skills training
    • Feedback systems

Hours:

Activity

Hours

Intervention
(individual, group, family therapy)

15-20

Assessment

2-3

Consultation

3-5

Supervision

2-3

Administration/staff meetings                             

1-2

Educational seminars

2-3

Research

1-2

Hours Weekly

40

*This is an estimate. Hours will change week-to-week depending on project needs and seminar schedule.

Supervisors:

Jennifer Dawson, Ph.D., BCBA, LBS (PA)
Desiree Heckers, MS.Ed., BCBA, LBS (PA)
Meghan Herring, LCSW
Jessica Falco, M.A., BCBA, LBS (PA)