Although many individuals with autism do not engage in severe problem behavior, research suggests it does seem to be more prevalent in people with autism than in those with other or no diagnoses. Therefore, a critical function of early intervention services for children with autism would seem to be preventing the development of severe problem behavior, to allow these children access to the wide range of opportunities and experiences available to their peers.
We train organizations in the Balance Program, a home-based, parent-implemented, skill-based approach to preventing the development of severe problem behavior in young children recently diagnosed with autism. Our aim is to build capacity in your personnel to provide support to parent/caregiver implementers. Organizations might use this program in conjunction with comprehensive early intervention services or on its own for families with few service hours or who are on a waitlist for comprehensive services. Consultation begins with a Zoom videoconference with an FTF Consultant, during which time consultees will learn about the initial steps of the assessment process. FTF consultants will provide a manual, parent handouts, data sheets, and graph templates. Consultees will then initiate the assessment process with one or more clients and bring the assessment results to a full-day on-site meeting with the FTF Consultant. The on-site meeting begins with a half day of interactive lecture, which includes description of the Balance process in PowerPoint and workbook format, illustrated by multiple case examples. During the second half of the day, consultees will meet with the FTF Consultant to review assessment data, personalize the program steps for client, and role-play the procedures. Additional days of on-site support can be added for additional clients. Support continues with weekly Zoom videoconferencing with the FTF Consultant, during which time the consultant supports the host organization’s personnel in progressing the program until each client has developed critical social skills to the exclusion of emerging problem behavior, and balance between parent- and child-led activities is achieved.