The psychiatric treatment of children and adolescents with severe emotional, behavioral, and neurodevelopmental disabilities is best accomplished within a comprehensive treatment program specifically designed to meet individualized needs. For this reason, Southwood Psychiatric Hospital has created an Intellectual Developmental Disability / Autism Spectrum Disorder (IDD/ASD) Residential Treatment Program. Located in Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania, the IDD/ASD Program provides treatment for up to 44 males between the ages of 6 and 21 years of age. The staff-to-child ratio in this program is 1:4, ensuring that each patient who takes part in this programming option has the thorough support he needs to be successful during the treatment process.
In our IDD/ASD Program, the treatment of the children and adolescents who are entrusted into our care is best effected through a collaborative interdisciplinary approach that follows the Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP) principles. The foundation of these principles guide the therapeutic process by incorporating the following:
- Child-centered services
- Family-focused services
- Community-based services
- Multi-system services
- Least restrictive / least intrusive services
In following these principles, a comprehensive treatment plan is developed for each patient through collaboration with the child himself, the child’s family members, and child-serving systems that have already been identified in the child’s life. These individuals and entities form the interdisciplinary team that meets regularly to review progress toward the attainment of the long-term goals and short-term objectives identified in the treatment plan. In this fashion, the approach to each child will be strengths-based, therapeutic, and developmentally appropriate in regards to meeting each child where he is at both emotionally and cognitively. This also helps to assure that treatment will be as brief and intensive as possible.
Knowledge and the implementation of basic principles of applied behavior analysis is clearly a primary focus of the IDD/ASD Program. Any approach should begin with a thorough functional behavioral analysis (FBA). The child’s therapist is responsible for coordinating the FBA, which could include a review of the child’s medical and clinical charts, the child’s IEP and ICMP, an interview with a family member, an interview with direct care staff, an interview with the child, and the use of both clinical assessments and direct observations using an ABC data sheet. Following that, the therapist will complete a formal FBA evaluation form which will be implemented as part of the child’ individualized treatment plan.
The IDD/ASD Program strongly encourages the family to participate in all aspects of treatment with the understanding that the family is the child’s primary support system. Family members are treated with the utmost dignity and respect. Adhering to this belief, the IDD/ASD Program is committed to building strong family relationships, actively involving the family in each step of a child’s treatment process. Interventions are developed and implemented in the residential setting that can be transferred to the home and community environments once a child has completed residential treatment in order to ensure the generalization of skills across all areas of a child’s life.
The IDD/ASD Program recognizes that the active involvement of family members in the treatment of the individual is of primary importance. Children and adolescents who engage in this residential treatment program benefit from a psychoeducational approach. The IDD/ASD Program’s staff members provide training and education to family members, as well as other child-serving systems. Our staff recognizes the important role of family members and other in regards to working with the individual in the community in order to obtain detailed background information and ongoing support that is essential to appropriate diagnosing and assessment distribution. This also serves to provide a solid foundation for discharge planning. The relationship between Southwood staff, family members, and other individuals in the child’s life is seen as a fully collaborative one and is essential to the care and overall wellbeing of the child.