Treatment and support for families dealing with autism


CSD provides diagnostic evaluations for children, adolescents and adults who are thought to have an autism spectrum disorder. Evaluations typically last one to one and a half days at the clinic, and involve forming a diagnosis and creating a treatment plan with specific interventions designed to help each individual flourish. The evaluation includes a caregiver interview, review of medical, social, academic and developmental history, and clinical testing session with the individual. The individual is directly assessed by our team of clinicians using evidence-based assessment instruments including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS 2nd edition). Results of the diagnostic evaluation are shared with the family during an interpretive meeting that is held at the end of the evaluation. An individualized, written summary with comprehensive recommendations and resources is provided to the family.


Using evidence-based and systematic methods of assessment, CSD identifies areas for support and recommends specific treatment targets and number of hours per week for autism services. Our assessment process addresses the individual’s current level of behavioral, emotional and communication functioning, and develops strategies to teach new skills across the individual’s language, cultural environment and living situation to promote independence and generalization across people and settings.

*Only available at specific locations.

Our Services

We offer a wide variety of life-changing services catered each individual’s needs and living situation, be it delivered in-home, in-clinic, or in-community. Through our services, we have a commitment to rapidly responding to evolving child and parent needs, cultural sensitivity to family values and generational dynamics, a multi-disciplinary approach to evidence-based methods, and creative play in a natural learning environment. This commitment allows our brand of high-quality treatment and support for our clients and families to be rooted in the principles of science, compassion, and humility.

Treatment Overview

CSD personalized treatment plans are based on the following approach after a individualized assessment to determine treatment targets as well as frequency and duration of services:

Evidence Based Approach

Evidence-based developmental and behavioral approaches in practice, emphasizing flexible, natural environment teaching and learning.

Priority Treatment

Priority treatment targets such as spontaneous communication and back-and-forth social interaction which are viewed as prerequisite skills for active engagement in treatment.

Treatment Goals

Treatment goals are based on typical developmental sequences (e.g. functional, spontaneous non-verbal communication is targeted before teaching multi-word sentences).

Focus on Independence

A focus on fostering social initiation and independence including participation in treatment that is characterized by active engagement and meaningful, varied responses in natural (typical, everyday) situations, interactions and activities.

Flexible Teaching Style

A flexible teaching style that enhances an individual’s communication, decision-making and social problem-solving during sessions. More directive, structured teaching methods are used only if necessary to teach specific skills (e.g. picture exchange communication, safety skills).

Non-Intrusive Prompting

Use of the least intrusive level of prompting or assistance whenever possible to maximize motivation and minimize potential prompt dependency and passivity. Staff is highly responsive to client cues to strengthen communication skills and ensure active engagement.

Natural Rewards

Natural rewards or reinforcement without reliance on rewards that are unrelated to the activity or interaction (e.g. iPad, candy, food). Motivation to participate and learn in everyday activities is stronger and will last longer with natural rewards. When more motivation is necessary, teams focus on shifting to more social and naturally occurring rewards as soon as possible.

Skill Teaching

Skill teaching in the context of typical, everyday activities and routines whenever possible unless client is not yet able to learn in naturally occurring situations. The most pressing, real life family challenges and functional, everyday activities are the focus of treatment.

Generalization of Skills

Generalization of skills is always targeted from the outset of treatment to ensure that learning occurs as a part of (not separate from) everyday activities, routines and interactions.

Constant Measurement

Goals are only considered “met” when the client demonstrates targeted skills spontaneously with multiple people during typical everyday activities, routines, tasks and social interactions.

Applied Behavior Analysis

ABA is an evidence-based approach utilizing individualized treatment plans, derived from standardized assessments, which use established milestones of typical development to determine the treatment goals. Our clinicians work to decrease challenging behaviors and teach new skills to increase desired behavior. The following domains are targeted through our services in home, community, and clinic settings:

  • Challenging Behavior
  • Socialization
  • Communication
  • Independent Living Skills
  • Community Integrations
Treatment Groups

Early Intervention (0-5 years)

CSD’s Early Intervention Program (0-5 years old) provides individualized programs for children and their families. It teaches behavioral, self-help, language, communication, cognitive, fine-motor, gross-motor, social and emotional skills. CSD’s Early Intervention Program is recommended for:

  • Children under age 5 who have recently been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Children from 18 months to 5 years of age who show signs of autism, even if there has not yet been a formal diagnosis. Symptoms can include persistent deficits in social communication and interaction, as well as restrictive and repetitive patters of behavior.
  • Children starting from nine months of age who have neurological difficulties.

Child-Adolescent (6-17 years)

CSD’s Child and Adolescent Program includes parent training and in-home, in-center, and community-based services for individuals 6 to 17 years of age that are impacted by autism and related developmental disabilities. Our multidisciplinary team focuses on the unique requirements of every child and adolescent, and forms evidence-based developmental and behavioral interventions that are proven to be effective at increasing the skills of individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. Treatment is delivered in the native language of the individual and family whenever possible.

Adult Transition (18+ years old)

The importance of the young adult transition is becoming more recognized within the community of providers who work with young people on the Autism Spectrum.

We know young people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a bellwether. They struggle with the transition from high school precisely because it is a difficult process. Having worked with young adults both neuro-typical and neuro-atypical, I have observed similar challenges for both.

The need for specialized support for the transition from child to young adult for people with autism is becoming more recognized within the autism care community. While society tends to treat the transition to young adult transition as a ‘launch’, for young adults with autism the transition is a series of steps. CSD programs prepare children to live as young adults by providing the skills and support they need to thrive in the context of their unique cultures, living situations, and future plans. The steps can be challenging, and each individual will develop the expectations, tools and skills to take these steps. Our goal is that every young person emerges into adulthood with the awareness and resilience to navigate life after High School/Special Ed program.

Social Skill Group

CSD offers ongoing support services for the individual in-home, in-community, in-school, and for family members and caregivers.

Social Communication

The goal social communication is to increase the functional use of language and communication in all natural settings.

Emotional Regulation

The focus of emotional regulation is to expand an individual’s capacity to manage his/her responses to internal and/or external stimuli by using cognitive behavioral techniques. Other communication-related target areas may involve improving an individual’s ability to recognize and label facial expressions.

Theory of Mind (ToM)

Individuals on the autism spectrum tend to display deficits in a key skill area called Theory of Mind, which is a system for inferring the full range of mental states from behavior (Baron-Cohen, 1995). Within CSD social skill groups, trained clinicians design treatments which target this area of functioning.

Improving Problem Behavior through Effective Social Communication

CSD uses visual supports, role-play, and high-interest activities to teach individuals how their behavior affects other people, and how others may respond to the behavior they encounter.

Increasing Communication

Increasing communication may involve teaching parents, caregivers, or teachers concepts such as communicative rewards, which encourage a child to ask for help or initiate a communicative interaction.

Multimodal Supports

Multimodal supports are tools such as visual signals, icons, pictures, schedules, or modified communication styles, all of which appeal to the individual’s interests and assist in learning.

Learning and Playing with Peers

Using group-based instruction, SLPs, Behaviorists, and OTs collaborate, facilitate and/or teach skills, which allow individuals to interact naturally with their peers through play or other developmentally functional activities.


All goals are functional, family oriented, developmentally appropriate, and measurable.

Meaningful and Purposeful Activities

Skill-based tasks (matching, motor imitation, etc.) frequently fail to address what individuals with autism and other developmental delays encounter in their natural environments. Activities that do not take into account what is meaningful for a child may exacerbate behavior problems and prevent the individual from generalizing what he or she has learned into multiple environments. Activities are integrated into an individual’s daily routines within a natural sequence, with clear beginnings and ends — offering some flexibility where needed (games, art, etc.). Activities include:

  • Planned Activities
  • Engineered Activities and Environments
  • Modified Natural Activities and Environments
  • Naturally Occurring Events and Environments
  • Communicative Temptations
  • Balanced Turn-Taking
  • Playful Construction/Obstruction
  • Playful Negotiation

The Function or Purpose of the Communicative Behavior

All autism and delay-focused social communication groups seek to increase each individual’s communication skills and social behavior by improving the following areas:

  • Expressive language skills and abilities such as talking or writing which are what a person produces to communicate.
  • Receptive language skills such as reading and listening to determine how, and to what degree, a person understands language.
  • Pragmatic skills as defined by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA):
    • Using language for purposes such as greeting, informing, or demanding.
    • Changing language according to the needs of the listener or situation by talking or speaking differently.
    • Following communication rules for conversations and storytelling such as maintaining a topic under discussion and reading body language for non-verbal communication.
  • Communicative Competence/Social-Behavioral Improvement using communication skills to improve social behavior.
Ongoing Support

CSD offers ongoing support services for the individual in-home, in-community, in-school, and for family members and caregivers.

In-School and Community Support

Community based support program is focused on the assistance of social interaction in the community, from playgrounds to grocery stores, to shopping centers. We provide one on one support for successful social interactions and engagement with the individual’s community, to foster and grow relationships to help individual become an active part of the community in which they live.

Tailored Support

School support can be provided for any number of reasons and in any number of ways, including teacher training and support, behavioral support, on the job paraprofessional training, teaching recess skills, implementing token economies, etc. CSD consultants can work collaboratively with parents and school staff to develop the most appropriate type of support and level of support.

School Consultation

School consultation may be provided if appropriate. A CSD consultant can visit the classroom and offer written feedback about the child’s behavioral and social performance and/or suggestions to help the child succeed in the classroom. This can be conducted on an as-needed basis or on a regular basis. If appropriate, the consultant can conduct a functional behavior assessment and write a behavior support plan to be used in the classroom setting.

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