Behavioral Support Partnership is a growing, robust and innovative service organization committed to improving the lives of children with developmental disabilities and their families. Behavioral Support Partnership was founded by Dr. Melissa Sweitzer, a licensed Psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over 30 years experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities. She has provided consultation and training in a variety of settings including residential facilities, schools, day programs and family homes. Dr. Sweitzer leads a team of experienced, compassionate and highly skilled professionals in the field of early intervention, autism, parent training consultation, and behavior analysis.
Behavioral Support Partnership’s services and supports are based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), the scientific study of behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis is the “process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors…” (Baer, D.M., Wolf, M.M, & Risely. T, 1968).
Our focus is on teaching new skills such as requesting, toileting, making friends; increasing appropriate social behaviors such as turn taking, complying with school rules; maintaining the skills over time and generalizing these new skills to new persons, settings, and times of the day. We are also interested in reducing behaviors that interfere with a child’s learning or inclusion such as tantrums, self injurious behavior or fighting.
Behavioral Support Partnership utilizes a play based, ABA treatment model called Pivotal Response Treatment® (PRT). PRT targets “pivotal” areas in a child’s development such as motivation, responsivity to multiple cues, social initiations and self-management. These pivotal areas form the base upon which other widespread and collateral gains are observed in communication, language, play and social skills. PRT takes place in the child’s natural environments such as the home, playground, school, grocery store, or restaurant thus promoting generalization of newly learned skills. Parent involvement and implementation of PRT is critical to our treatment model. We want to provide as many learning opportunities for children during our therapy sessions, and just as important, throughout the normal course of the day. In addition to PRT, we also use other naturalistic teaching practices such as Incidental Teaching, and Natural Language Paradigm (NLP). PRT was developed by Drs. Robert and Lynn Koegel, at the University of California, Santa Barbara and is an expansion of NLP.
A well researched body of literature exists demonstrating the empirical effectiveness of ABA in teaching a variety of skills and reducing challenging behaviors across a diverse group of individuals. With respect to PRT, several hundred studies starting with NLP attest to the efficacy of this naturalistic treatment model with children with autism. The National Autism Center’s Standards Report lists PRT as one of 11 established treatments for autism.
At Behavioral Support Partnership, each child and family comes to us with a unique set of values, behaviors, and experiences. We consider each family’s story and then individualize treatments based on the family’s schedule and demands, cultural values, and family strengths. Goals are continually adjusted as the child meets mastery and progresses through the various developmental stages.
Baer, D.M., Wolf, M.M, & Risely. T. (1968). Current dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 1, 91-97.
Cooper, J.O., Heron, T.E. and Heward, W.L. (1987) Applied Behavior Analysis. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice – Hall.
Koegel, R.L., & Koegel, L.K. (2006). Pivotal Response Treatments for autism: communication, social and academic development. Baltimore: Paul B. Brooks Publishing Co.
Koegel, R., O’Dell, M.C., & Koegel, L.k. (1987) A natural language paradigm for teaching nonverbal autistic children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 17, 187-199.
Laski, K.E., Charlop, M.H. & Schreibman, L. (1988). Training parents to use the Natural Language Paradigm to increase their autistic children’s speech. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 21, 391-400.
National Autism Center Standards Report, (2009), Randolph Massachusetts: National Autism Center.
Sulzer-Azaroff, B. & Mayer, R., (1991). Behavior analysis for lasting change. Belmont, CA: Thompson Learning.