LEARN Behavioral Part of $4.7 Million Grant to Study Autism Intervention

Baltimore, MD — LEARN Behavioral is part of a multimillion-dollar grant to study autism intervention.

The National Institutes of Mental Health awarded the $4.7 million, five-year grant to researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders). LEARN was one of two ABA providers selected to help MIND Institute researchers study 300 children who receive therapy.

Researchers will test the effectiveness of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) of treatment. ESDM is designed for children between the ages of 1 and 4. The innovative model teaches communication and play skills through everyday activities.

“This partnership will help us disseminate best practices amongst clinicians in our field, improve outcomes for kids, and enhance caregiver support and training,” says Jocelyn Thompson, LCSW, BCBA, Vice President of Clinical Services at LEARN Behavioral. “We hope it leads to the best care possible for those with autism and their families.”

The ESDM approach is different from other interventions. It is based on applied behavior analysis (ABA) and child development science. Instead of using traditional structured teaching techniques, ESDM focuses on meaningful interactions. These interactions are based on what the child is interested in. ESDM helps children learn and grow by making interventions feel like natural play.

The study will train behavior analysts in the ESDM approach. These analysts will then train behavior technicians in community agencies. The researchers will create videos called “micro-learnings” to help therapists learn best practices.

The MIND Institute team will train for three months. After that, they will have monthly meetings with agency supervisors. During the study, MIND researchers will observe the ESDM approach and make sure it’s done correctly. The study will record one session per month for each of the 300 children. Researchers will track their progress over a six-month period.

LEARN Behavioral and its partner agencies are committed to providing culturally sensitive care. The training will be available in English and Spanish. LEARN Behavioral aims to offer top intervention services for families with autism.

For more information about LEARN Behavioral and its start in the autism community, click here.

About LEARN Behavioral:

LEARN Behavioral is a leading collective group of ABA providers that nurtures the unique potential in children, teens, and young adults with autism and other disabilities. We provide tailored treatment programs based on contemporary, family-focused applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. We’re collaborative and innovative, making a positive impact on people’s lives. For more information, visit their services page here.