The School of Education at Felician University is building on the Core Felician Franciscan Values of serving the community by initiating a Center of Excellence in Autism. Consistent with the mission of the University, the Center has four major program areas.
1. Undergraduate and Graduate Professional Training in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism
Felician University is committed to preparing dynamic professionals who are able to support the learning and behavioral challenges faced by children, youth, and adults in the autism community. The Center leadership has built undergraduate and graduate programs in Applied Behavior Analysis and autism that bridge research with practical application. Students learn the most up to date intervention strategies including Pivotal Response Treatment and have opportunities to join research teams during practicum placement.
2. Research Program
Translational research is conducted to unlock the mysteries of autism, increase effectiveness of early identification and intervention, and to make socially significant gains across the age span. Through the Infant Eye-Tracking and Child Development initiative, investigations are underway to help pinpoint early bio-behavioral markers of autism within the first few months of life. Throughout the lifespan the goal of current efforts is to prevent the full development of the characteristics associated with autism and improve the prognosis of individuals. Under the leadership of Dr. Burke, Principal Investigator, we are currently conducting the following studies.
Assessing Stimulus Preferences in Infants
We are recruiting younger siblings of children with autism who are approximately 2 to 6 months of age as well as same age children without a sibling with autism. Through this research, we are assessing the children’s gaze towards different visual stimuli that vary in complexity. For additional information, please click the button below.Assessing Stimulus Preferences in Infants Study
First-Signs Initiative – Early Intervention for Infants at Risk for Autism
Through this investigation, we are assessing the potential impact of a new early infant program for promoting gains in pivotal areas of development. We are recruiting younger siblings of children with autism approximately 2 to 6 months of age. Following a pre-assessment the infants and parents will participate in a series of individual sessions and then a group based “parent and me” series with a focus on targeting key milestones in young children. For additional information, please click the button below.First Signs Infant Program Study
Using the Ecological Learning Assessment to Establish a Pivotal Skills Treatment Program
We are recruiting children diagnosed with ASD approximately 3 to 12 years of age or who show the core characteristics. The focus is to assess the utility of an Ecological Learning Assessment (ELA) approach to develop individualized programs based on Pivotal Response Teaching. Following the assessment, each child will participate in approximately 20 visits involving ABA intervention known as Pivotal Response Teaching. Parents will also receive direct training. For additional information, please click the button below.Ecological Learning Assessment and PRT Study
Assessing Early Receptive Vocabulary Development
A new study is being initiated at Felician University to assess whether infants who have older siblings with ASD may develop vocabulary in the same manner as other children. This study will systematically assess the children’s gaze towards pictures and record the amount of time. We are recruiting young siblings of children with and without autism who are approximately 6 to 12 months of age as well as others who are between 2 to 5 years of age. For additional information, please click the button below.Assessing Early Receptive Vocabulary Development Study
Stimulus Preference and Multiple Responding in Children with Autism
A new study is being initiated at Felician University to assess children’s responses to visual stimuli that vary in complexity and whether their responses may be affected by the number of cues or steps contained within an instruction. We are currently seeking the involvement of children with and without ASD between 3 to 7 years of age. For additional information, please click the button below.Stimulus Preference and Multiple Cue Responding in Autism Study
3. Comprehensive Assessment and Intervention Services
Consistent with nationally recognized centers of excellence for autism, our Center is developing research based innovative and integrated assessment and intervention services. Assessments are focused on identifying child and environmental factors that influence development of pivotal skills in order to have a socially significant impact on improving the quality of life. Our intervention services include the use of Ecological Learning Assessments and Pivotal Response Treatment.
4. Local and International Community Based Outreach Supports
The Center builds upon the University’s rich history of addressing needs among diverse cultures, ethnic groups, and communities. Efforts are underway to support individual professionals and family members as well as schools and other organizations through information dissemination and training. Workshops and professional development sessions are offered across a variety of topics with a particular emphasis on the use of Pivotal Response Teaching.