Including Kids, INC. provides research based behavioral intervention and instruction for children and young adults with autism and other related delays, endeavoring to cultivate their learning and social skills to facilitate their inclusion in the community and inspire them to become productive citizens.
We have a number of different programs within our organization designed to help the whole child and based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). With our full-time programming option, we make individualized plans for each child based on his or her needs. Then, we implement intensive one-to-one instruction using various research-based techniques including discrete trial, natural environment training, shaping, reinforcement, and task analysis. We focus on skills necessary for the child to be as independent in life as possible. Including Kids’ support, however, does not stop at full time programming.
Including Kids provides programs for children and youth with autism and related delays ages 2 and up. Including Kids is unique in the Houston area because it both serves young adults with autism and helps children and young adults with autism who exhibit aggressive behaviors.
We use Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), which is considered the Gold Standard for the treatment of autism. ABA is widely researched and empirically validated in a large body of scientific evidence. We use this research-based behavioral intervention and instruction program to educate children in their areas of delay, which may include, but are not limited to: language, social and executive functioning skills, behavior management, academics/school readiness, self-help, domestic skills, and vocational skills.
By witnessing daily successes over the years, we have learned what works. Competently delivered research-based behavioral intervention can help children and young adults with autism curb unhealthy behaviors, set and reach goals and make meaningful improvements in their daily lives. However, it is true that most learners require a great deal of carefully planned instruction and practice with skills, so these changes do not occur in a set time frame. Quality programs like ours address a wide range of skill areas, but the focus remains on the individual child, so goals necessarily vary from learner to learner, depending on age, level of functioning, family needs and interests, and a variety of other factors we must consider. An individual learner may make rapid progress in one skill area such as reading but need more instruction and practice to master another, such as interacting with peers.
In our programming, we make an individualized plan for each child and young adult based on his or her needs. We provide intensive one-to-one instruction using ABA, focusing on the skills needed for the highest level of independence possible for individual. As the child or young adult is ready, we have many opportunities for inclusion with typical peers, and we act as the bridge for them to be an integral part of their community.
At Including Kids we envision a world where all children and young adults are given the chance to be included. By fostering an environment built on the mantra ‘Instruct, Inspire, Include’ the goal of our dedicated staff and supportive community is to create a truly inclusive society where involvement and awareness act as that last puzzle piece in our completed picture: a welcoming world where every child is given the opportunity to succeed.
– We provide one BCBA to oversee every 5-7 cases
– We are a Texas Education Agency (TEA) approved facility
– We work on generalizing skills within the community through inclusion and having our young adults get hands-on experience at work sites.
– We are a Wraparound Program – we offer services to the whole family, not just the child with autism
– We work on generalizing medical treatments, haircuts, blood draws and any other necessary activities to help the families we serve
– We serve all functioning levels, including children and young adults that exhibit aggressive behaviors
– We provide services from childhood through young adulthood
Done correctly, ABA intervention for autism is not a “one size fits all” approach consisting of a “canned” set of programs or drills. On the contrary, every aspect of intervention is customized to each learner’s skills, needs, interests, preferences, and family situation. For those reasons, an intervention program for one learner might look somewhat different than a program for another learner. But genuine, quality, comprehensive research based behavioral intervention and instruction programs for learners with autism have certain things in common:
– Intervention designed and overseen directly by qualified, well-trained professional Board
– Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs)
– Caseloads per BCBA of 5-10 learners
– Direct care provided by a Registered Behavioral Technician
– Detailed assessment of each learner’s skills as well as learner and family preferences to determine initial treatment goals
– Selection of goals that are meaningful for the learner and the family
– Ongoing objective measurement of learner progress
– Frequent review of progress data by the behavior analyst so that goals and procedures can be “fine tuned” as needed
– Instruction on developmentally appropriate goals in all skill areas (e.g., communication, social, self-care, play and leisure, motor and academic skills)
– Skills broken down into small parts or steps that are manageable for the learner, and taught from simple (such as imitating single sounds) to complex (e.g., carrying on conversations)
– An emphasis on skills that will enable learners to be independent and successful in both the short and the long run
– Use of multiple behavior analytic procedures – both adult directed and learner-initiated – to promote learning in a variety of ways
– Many opportunities, specifically planned and naturally occurring – for each learner to acquire and practice skills every day, in structured and unstructured situations
– Intervention provided consistently for many hours each week based on the needs of the individual
– Abundant positive reinforcement for useful skills and socially appropriate behaviors
– An emphasis on positive social interactions, and on making learning fun
– No reinforcement for behaviors that are harmful or prevent learning
– Use of techniques to help trained skills carry over to various places, people and times and to enable learners to acquire new skills in a variety of settings
– Parent training so family members can teach and support skills during typical family activities
– Regular meetings between family members and program
Because of the huge demand for behavior intervention and instruction for autism, many individuals and programs now claim to “do ABA”. Some are private practitioners or agencies that offer to provide services by periodically coming into a family’s home; others operate private schools, and still others provide consultation services to public schools. Not all of them have the education and practical experience that the field of behavior analysis considers minimum requirements for practicing ABA. Family members and concerned professionals are urged to be cautious when enlisting anyone to “do ABA” with a child, youth, or adult with autism.
A guide for identifying quality ABA programs called “Consumer Guidelines for Identifying, Selecting, and Evaluating Behavior Analysts Working with Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders” can be found at http://www.apbahome.net/downloads/AutGuidelines.pdf.
Including Kids, INC. was founded 13 years ago with the mission of providing educational and therapeutic instruction using the principles of applied behavior analysis for children with autism and related developmental delays, endeavoring to facilitate their inclusion in the community.
Today, Including Kids has served over 650 families from 12 counties in the Greater Houston area. We have created a quality full-time program that continues to change the lives of young adults and children with autism, offering them a chance to be included in the community.
Along with our full time programs, we also offer the following services: