Devereux  Advanced Behavioral Health Pennsylvania

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Children’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services (CIDDS) center

Carol Anne McNellis, Psy.D. BCBA - Executive Director
390 East Boot Road
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone: (610) 431-8100 Directions

The Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services (CIDDS) center serves children, adolescents and young adults – from birth to age 21 – with autism spectrum disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and behavioral and emotional disorders. Each year, more than 1,000 children and adolescents receive specialized care, in the environment best suited to the unique challenges they face, all with the goal of providing each child with the academic, social, emotional and life skills needed to flourish in their home community.

CIDDS services include: two Approved Private Day schools, community-based mental health services, community-based employment training and social skills training, therapeutic foster care and a full-time residential program.

We are proud to serve children and adults across the country. Individuals and families who are not located near our service areas are encouraged to contact an Admissions Specialist for help and information.

For detailed information on our Autism programs, please refer to our Autism page. For services provided by Devereux Pocono, please click here


CIDDS Approved Private Schools

CIDDS Learning Center, West Chester

For children with a primary diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, please visit Devereux CARES

For children and youth with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, the CIDDS Learning Center offers individualized academic instruction, as well as social and emotional supports tailored to the needs of each student. Our wonderful teaching staff provides caring, personalized attention and purposeful learning opportunities, with a strong focus on the transition from school to working in the community. The goal of this Approved Private School is to create educational opportunities that enable each student to live as a positive, healthy and socially connected individual in his or her community.

Each student has an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), which outlines 1) goals for skill development and 2) the best strategies by which the student can reach his/her goals. Each student’s teacher – with classroom assistance from a direct support professional, teacher assistant and personal care assistants, if needed – ensures implementation of the IEP. A multidisciplinary team, including the individual’s parent(s) or guardian, regularly reviews the plan to discuss challenges, progress and adjustments to goals, as appropriate. 

The learning environment focuses on building upon the unique strengths of each student.  The school strives to offer a breadth of opportunities for students to express themselves and find personal levels of accomplishment through activities such as: Special Olympics, talent shows and school dances, student government, peer mentoring, service learning, community gardening, and employment education, both in the classroom and in the community.

Core Curriculum:

  • Functional academics
  • Social skills and language
  • Daily living skills
  • Technology
  • Employment training\school to work
  • Art
  • Animal-assisted therapy
  • Community service
  • Leisure and recreation
  • Health and wellness

Title IX Policy and Procedures

What is Title IX?Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Sex discrimination includes sex-based harassment, discrimination on the basis of sex and retaliation related to complaints of sex discrimination. Sex-based harassment is unwelcome conduct, which includes both sexual harassment including, but not limited to, sexual assault, other forms of sexual violence and other sexual misconduct, and gender-based harassment. This applies to academic, educational, athletic and residential programs.

What is Different? The new Title IX regulation holds schools accountable for failure to respond equitably and promptly to sexual misconduct incidents and ensures a more reliable adjudication process that is fair to all students. The Final Regulations specify how recipients (defined as schools, LEAs, postsecondary institutions) of federal financial assistance must respond to allegations of sexual harassment consistent with Title IX’s prohibition against sex discrimination. They further specify how recipients (defined as schools, LEAs, postsecondary institutions) of federal financial assistance must respond to allegations of sexual harassment consistent with Title IX’s prohibition against sex discrimination.

Policy and Procedure Documents

About Our Education Director:

Susan Nice, MSW, serves as the education director for Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Pennsylvania’s CIDDS Learning Center. Nice began her career with Devereux in 1983 as a recreation counselor, and then later as a social services coordinator. After a brief hiatus in 1995, Nice returned to Devereux, where she held various positions including program consultant, home and school visitor, and most recently, assistant principal of the CIDDS Learning Center – a position she held for nine years. In 2018, Nice was promoted to the position of education director. As education director, Nice oversees approximately 125 staff and teachers who provide individualized academic instruction, as well as social and emotional supports, for nearly 185 children and youth with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Nice earned a Bachelor of Science degree from York College of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in social work (MSW) from Widener University. She has obtained certifications as a home and school visitor and principal from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Residential Programs

Short-Term Autism Intensive Residential Services – West Chester
I/DD Program – West Chester and Downingtown
Disruptive Behavior Disorders Program – West Chester
Sexual Responsibility Program – West Chester

Devereux Pennsylvania provides a rich, evolving continuum of 24-hour, out-of-home residential services for children and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A team of caring, talented staff is dedicated to helping each individual achieve social, emotional, behavioral and educational goals, and return home to their local communities.

Under the umbrella of our Pennsylvania CIDDS center, we offer four residential programs, each with their its focus. These residential programs are customized to serve the unique needs of children and adolescents. Common throughout all of our residential programs is the use of an evidence-based practice called Program-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PW-PBIS), which integrates all aspects of an individual’s care.

Our residential programs provide each child, and their families, with the skills and resources needed to reach the greatest level of personal happiness and success. For most youth, this means returning home to live with their parents. For some, this means semi-independent living as an adult, with community employment and freedom of choice. For others, independence could be as limited as self-care and hygiene, and highly-supported living and work environments. No matter where the child falls on the continuum of future independence, therapies and behavioral interventions designed to address specific behaviors can bring substantial growth. While the child is in treatment, we help families/caretakers develop strategies to facilitate a successful discharge to the home environment.

Our residential homes and cottages reflect a warm, home-like setting. This approach not only provides a safe, dignified environment for the children, but it also provides opportunities for experiential learning, where children can practice life skills needed as an adult, from cooking and cleaning, to positive communication, conflict resolution, cooperation and compromise.

Children and adolescents served by our residential programs attend the educational program that best suits their needs. These options include: public schools, intermediate unit programs, the CIDDS Learning Center or DevereuxCARES.

Community-based and Other Specialized Services

Devereux Pennsylvania – CIDDS believes in the importance of supporting children with intellectual and development disabilities and their families, within their own neighborhoods. We are dedicated to providing specialized assessment and wraparound services at home, school and other community-based settings in southeast Pennsylvania.

Autism Assessment Center

Providing timely answers, support and resources for families  

Devereux contracts with schools or school districts to provide autism assessments in the educational setting for school-aged students. Multiple assessment measures are utilized and a report including diagnostic conclusions and recommendations is provided.

Assessment Services

Available to residents of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

At the Devereux Pennsylvania Autism Assessment Center, our licensed professionals have extensive training and experience delivering evidence-based assessments interventions.

  • In-take evaluation (reviewing relevant history and background)
  • ADOS-II (Autism Diagnosis Observation Schedule)
  • Assessments completed by masters or doctoral level clinicians trained to clinical reliability standards on the ADOS-II, under the supervision of a licensed doctoral level psychologist. Other professionals, such as speech/language therapists and psychiatrists, are available as needed for consultation or direct assessment
  • Detailed evaluation report with diagnosis and recommendations
  • Consultation meeting to discuss evaluation report
  • Guidance on accessing appropriate community services available in the community

Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS)

Available to residents of Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties 

Since 1998, Devereux has provided Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) to children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities between the ages of two and 21. The goal is to treat each individual in his or her home, school and community. IBHS is a process that strives to create positive outcomes for each child – such as problem solving and coping skills – through a structured and individualized process that is family-centered and culturally competent.

Our staff – including a behavioral specialist consultant, mobile therapist, therapeutic staff support and case manager – works as a team with the individual’s family members to provide them with the tools needed to help the individual succeed in his or her environment. We also seek to build a family’s “natural supports” – their network of social and community relationships (such as teachers, coaches and friends) that can be a source of strength for the child and family.

Contact us to determine if your family member can benefit from Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services  .

Community Adult Autism Partnership Program (CAAPP)

The Community Adult Autism Partnership Program (CAAPP) provides individualized and innovative community-based support services to adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other disabilities. The primary goal is to provide instruction and support across community, home and work environments that will help individuals become productive, socially connected, and personally fulfilled members of their local communities. 
Services Include (note – individualized service titles may vary per funder):
  • Home and community support
  • Behavior supports
  • Employment services
Services are funded through the following sources:
  • Adult Autism Waiver
  • Consolidated and Person Family Directed Supports (P/FDS) Waivers
  • Base funding
  • OBRA waiver
  • Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • School-based transition supports through district contracts
  • Private pay options
Devereux Pennsylvania’s CAAPP program currently serves the following counties: Chester, Delaware and Montgomery.

CIDDS Learning Center

The CIDDS Learning Center offers a year-round educational program to both residential and day students. This includes a seven-week extended school year (ESY) program, which is ungraded; students are grouped by the following criteria: age, functioning levels and behavioral needs.

Types of special education supports include: autistic support, emotional support, life skills support and multiple disabilities support. Class sizes range from four to eight students, with student to staff ratios of 1:1, 2:1 and 3:1. 

The CIDDS educational experience includes a highly-specialized curriculum, designed with five components and presented with a developmental/functional sequential construct. The five areas are interrelated through daily living and employment routines to create purposeful teaching opportunities both on campus and in the community.

  • Social skills/language: Emphasis is the teaching of appropriate social skills through direct classroom instruction and naturally occurring opportunities. This area uses a total communication program for teaching language to both verbal and nonverbal students. The Picture Exchange System (PECS) is utilized, as appropriate. The area of social/emotional growth and development also focuses on how to recognize social boundaries and avoid exploitation. 
  • Daily living skills: Includes activities of daily living through routines and task analyses.
  • Employment training: Includes routines for attaining, maintaining, changing or terminating employment. A continuum of services is provided both on and off campus, including a partnership with Wawa to provide hands-on work experience in local stores.
  • Functional academics: Academics are taught within five areas – reading, mathematics, writing, social studies and science.
  • Leisure/recreation: Includes routines for appropriate skill building during less structured activities.

Programs of Note:

  • CIDDS Nurture Center: A companionable zoo program where students care for animals and learn functional, employment and social skills while building self-esteem and compassion. Our zoo program also fosters and socializes animals from a local shelter that are awaiting adoption.

Service Learning: Uses active participation in service experiences that meet community needs while developing empathy, leadership skills and social responsibility. Students of all ages and skill levels are involved in service learning in a variety of settings. These experiences enhance what is taught in the school by extending learning beyond the classroom and fostering the development of a sense of caring for others. Activities may include, but are not limited to, senior companions, tutoring fellow students, hunger awareness, school improvement projects, fundraising projects, health programs, park restoration and homeless shelter assistance. CIDDS has partnered with the Chester County Food Bank and participates in its growing program to provide fresh produce to families in need in Chester County.

Contact for More Information/Admissions:
Maryann Misetic - Education Compliance Specialist 
390 East Boot Road 
West Chester, PA 19380 
(610) 425-6309 (telephone )
(610) 696-2185

Residential Programs

Contact for More Information/Admissions:
(866) 532-2212 (telephone)
(610) 430-0567 (fax)

Kelly McCool - Admissions Manager - (610) 431-8191
Erin Thomas - Admissions Manager - (610) 431-8126

Short-Term Autism Intensive Residential Services (STAIRS)

The Short Term Autism Intensive Residential Services (STAIRS) program at Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS is a neurobehavioral unit that provides intensive, autism-specific treatment for children, ages five to 21, with severe behavioral challenges and skills deficits that have not responded to treatment in traditional community-based or residential settings.

Devereux STAIRS employs evidence-based practices across a continuum of care. These practices include a foundation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports delivered in a treatment environment that is trauma sensitive and trauma informed. The continuum begins with a comprehensive, functional behavioral assessment in the family’s home, followed by intensive, clinical services for a period of three to six months on the Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS campus and concludes with discharge and after care service planning. The STAIRS team of professionals includes Board Certified Behavioral Analysts (BCBAs), clinical psychologist, child psychiatrist, special education teacher, nurses, speech language therapist, residential unit supervisor and direct care providers who are trained in Applied Behavior Analysis, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), and Individualized Positive Behavior Support. 

Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ID/ASD) Program

Community and campus homes in West Chester and Downingtown

Our Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum (ID/ASD) program serves boys and girls, ages six through 21, with a degree of intellectual and developmental disability ranging from mild to severe, with IQ scores from 20 to 55. These children also exhibit significant behavioral challenges including self-injury, physical aggression and property destruction. The ID/ASD program teaches skill development, positive behavioral change, communication and self-care, enabling the youth to reach his or her fullest potential.

Intellectual Disability and Mental Health (ID/MH) Program

Community and campus homes in West Chester and Downingtown

The Intellectual Disability and Mental Health (ID/MH) program serves males, ages 8 to 21, and females, ages 12-21, with IQs ranging from 55 to 70, who display significant behavioral challenges including physical aggression, property destruction and poor conflict resolution. This program focuses specifically on improving the emotional and behavioral condition of the child, as well as developing skills for communication, self-care, and socialization in a nurturing and positive environment.

Diagnoses may include:

  • Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
  • Dual Diagnosis (Mental Health and IDD)
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Affective disorders
  • Neurological impairments
  • Emotional disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Sexual Responsibility Program (SRP)

Semi-secured campus residential treatment program in West Chester

Our Sexual Responsibility Program provides intensive treatment in a semi-secure setting to adolescent males with intellectual disabilities, ages 12 through 21, who have a history of sexually irresponsible behaviors. Generally, these boys have an IQ score between 50 and 75, and many have histories of abandonment and rejection.

The program is staff-rich, providing individualized supervision and treatment of the youth, with the goal of providing assessment and treatment specifically designed to assist adolescents with intellectual disabilities to:

  • Learn to conduct themselves appropriately in various settings;
  • Learn to protect themselves against victimization; and
  • Develop skills that will enable them to be a positively engaged member of the community.  

Virtual Tour: Devereux PA Children’s Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Services: Greenway

Virtual Tour: Devereux PA Children’s Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Services: Day Program


Virtual Tour: Devereux PA Children’s Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Services: STAIRS Program


Virtual Tour: Devereux PA Children’s Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Services: Jackson B


Virtual Tour: Devereux PA Children’s Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Services: Reed