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Devereux Center for Autism Research and Education Services (CARES)

600 Boot Rd. Downingtown, PA 19335
610-873-4930
Directions

  • Please send student referrals for any of Devereux’s four Approved Private Schools to the following email address: PAEducationReferrals@devereux.org.
  • In order for us to process your referrals efficiently, please include the following information in each referral email:
    • Student name, DOB and grade level (required)
    • Documents for the admissions team to review—most recent IEP, ER/RR (required)
    • Preferred program (if known) – The Brandywine School, The Mapleton School, The Devereux School for Integrated Learning, The CARES School
    • Any additional educational records or information deemed relevant to the referral—psychiatric evaluation, attendance records, discipline records, etc. (optional and/or as requested)
  • Learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s Education Health and Safety Plan and our Attestation Ensuring Implementation of Mitigation Efforts

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 offers 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
Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services, The CARES School has submitted for and received funding through the AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT-ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL EMERGENCY RELIEF (ARP-ESSER) grant. The School Entity Plan for the Use of ARP ESSER Funds, which must be made publicly available may be referenced here.

Educational and Clinical Model

Services at CARES are based on the applied science of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) 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 work 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

Jennifer Hassler, M.Ed., Education Director and Principal

Jennifer Hassler, M.Ed., serves as the education director and principal at Devereux CARES. Prior to joining CARES, Hassler was the department program lead and director of educational field placements at Elizabethtown College. She also worked for nearly 30 years as a teacher, specialist, principal and director in Berks and Lebanon County school districts.

Hassler believes schools should be safe spaces for teaching and learning, and that educators have a unique opportunity to capitalize on challenges and confront barriers to school progress. Throughout her career, Hassler has aspired to set and achieve meaningful goals for students and the school community.

Hassler holds degrees in education and curriculum and instruction from Millersville and Penn State, respectively. Her post-graduate work focused on reading, special education and educational leadership. Hassler was awarded the Educational Leadership Award of Excellence by Alvernia University while preparing for her first principalship. She was nominated by her peers to the Lebanon County Educator Honor Society in 2021.

Lori Pisaneschi, M.Ed., Assistant Education Director

Lori Pisaneschi, M.Ed., has worked at Devereux CARES since its inception in 1998, when she joined the center as an instructional coordinator. In her early years as an educator, Pisaneschi had a special interest in social skills development. On occasion, she would accompany her students to their home district where they participated in regular and special education classes. From the classroom teacher position, Lori moved into various roles, including head teacher and supervisor of special education before being promoted to her current role of assistant education director at CARES. 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, bachelor’s degrees in both elementary education and sociology from Wilkes University, and a Master of Education from Cabrini College. She holds certifications in special education, elementary education, early childhood education and supervisor. Pisaneschi also has performed adjunct work through West Chester University.

Cathleen Albertson Deutsch, MA, BCBA, Clinical Coordinator

Cathleen Albertson Deutsch, M.A, BCBA, joined Devereux CARES in 2008. She has extensive experience supervising direct support staff and clinicians, and working within multidisciplinary teams in residential and school settings. At CARES, she coordinates clinical services for the younger students, overseeing new student admissions and supervising Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and related services. She works with other members of the CARES leadership team to ensure staff are effectively trained in evidence-based practices for students with autism.

Albertson Deutsch holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree in psychology from Brandeis University. She completed her post-graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at The Pennsylvania State University, and has been a BCBA since 2006.

Albertson Deutsch also is an adjunct professor of ABA for two universities. She has presented her applied research work in ABA at regional and national conferences. Her areas of interest include staff training and supervision, collaboration with multiple disciplines, functional communication training and family support.

Lucas Cepeda, M.S., BCBA, Clinical Coordinator

As a clinical coordinator, Lucas Cepeda, M.S. BCBA, oversees employment training and transition services at Devereux CARES, as well as clinical oversight at the upper school for CARES. Cepeda obtained his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Universidad de Belgrano, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a master's degree in school psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Cepeda's areas of interest include: functional communication training, transition planning, behavioral systems analysis and the treatment of food selectivity.

Christopher Pauley, M.Ed., Supervisor of Special Education

Christopher Pauley, M.Ed., has served as Devereux CARES’ supervisor of special education since 2021. In his role, he is focused on teaching and demonstrating the individualized education plan (IEP) process, along with collecting data and developing effective teaching strategies as related to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Pauley began his career with CARES in 2019 as a head teacher. Prior to working at CARES, Pauley served as a direct support staff at Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services in 2010 before being promoted to special education teacher and head teacher.

Pauley holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Lebanon Valley College, as well as a master’s degree in education from Grand Canyon University. In 2020, he earned his Pennsylvania Supervisor of Special Education Certificate.

Jennifer Shea, M.Ed., Head Teacher

As Devereux CARES’ head teacher since 2009, Jennifer Shea, M.Ed., assists teachers with individualized education plan (IEP) development and effective classroom management strategies. Shea began her career with CARES in 1999 as an instructional coordinator before being promoted to primary instructional coordinator, and then, classroom teacher. In addition to having taught in the classroom for many years at CARES, Shea also taught first grade in a public school district. She maintains strong relationships with partnering school districts and CARES families.

Shea holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a master’s degree in education from Saint Joseph’s University. In addition, she holds teaching certifications in both elementary and special education.

Megan Cox, Ph.D., Director of Student Services

Megan Cox, Ph.D., serves as director of student services for Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Services, overseeing the continued expansion of educational programs in Pennsylvania and providing operational and instructional leadership to school teams. She joined Devereux in 2022 as education director for Devereux CARES.

Prior to Devereux, Cox was the senior lead educator of special education for the Camden City School District. In this position, she oversaw special education programming for five large, urban schools. Cox also served as a data coach for Amplify in Delaware, an adjunct professor for Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania and a special education teacher for the Salem City School District in New Jersey.

Cox has earned the following degrees: Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a concentration in health and exercise science from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina; a Master of Arts in special education with a concentration in emotional and behavioral disorders from Furman University, and a doctorate in urban education from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Megan Joy, Ph.D., BCBA, Director of Autism Services, Pennsylvania

Megan Joy, Ph.D., BCBA, joined Devereux in 2017 as director of autism services for Pennsylvania, providing clinical oversight to autism programs in the state, including CARES, the Community Adult Autism Partnership Program and CARES Consulting. Joy also supervises the implementation of Devereux’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (D-PBIS) autism model.

Joy 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. She is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

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 numerous 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

Todd Harris, Ph.D., serves as executive director of autism services for Devereux. In this role, Harris coordinates the design of, 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.

Harris earned his graduate degree from 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. Harris also has published and presented research in the areas of teaching functional communication skills and Picture Exchange Communication System skills; staff and family support and training practices; community-based transition programming; and methods to reduce unwanted behaviors through positive approaches.

Harris serves on the advisory board for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, and is an adjunct professor at Lehigh University. He also is co-chair of Devereux’s national Autism Affinity Committee, and sits on the Peer Review Committee for the Delaware Autism Program. Harris previously was a member of the Council on Autism Services, a participant on the Delaware State Autism Task Force, a participant on the Pennsylvania State Workgroup on MNGs for ABA Services, and taught autism specialization graduate courses at the University of Delaware.

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.

Albertson, C.M., Schoen, C.M., Cepeda, L., Shaw, C.M. & Smith, E.W. (2014, May). Assessing a Comparative Evaluation Procedure of Proloquo2Go versus PECS as Primary Modes of Communication in Non-Vocal Learners with Autism. Poster presented at the Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, Chicago, IL.

Albertson, C.M., Schoen, C.M., Cepeda, L., Shaw, C.M. & Smith, E.W. (2014, March). Assessing a Comparative Evaluation Procedure of Proloquo2Go versus PECS as Primary Modes of Communication in Non-Vocal Learners with Autism. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania Association for Behavior Analysis, Hershey, PA.

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.

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