The Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning has a history of involvement with groundbreaking research to help further the resources and knowledge around autism. Our findings are incorporated into our programming, training, and facilities to give our students the most effective and up-to-date education. A study from the 2013-2014 school year is shown below.
Educational, behavioral, pre-vocational, and vocational programming is individualized and is based on ABA (applied behavior analysis) methodology. The classrooms are divided into learning centers that correspond to the aforementioned standards.
The curriculum at the Pingree Center addresses a broad range of developmental areas with the ultimate goal of preparing children for success in a less restrictive environment with their peers and siblings. We use evidence-based practices included in the National Autism Center’s National Standard Report such as discrete trial training, reinforcement, incidental teaching/naturalistic teaching strategies, task analysis, visual supports, schedules, prompting, modeling, time delay, video modeling, and social narratives to teach children new socially significant behaviors, skills, and concepts.
The Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning has extensive research connections to several universities in groundbreaking research. These connections include UCLA, Stanford University, Utah State University, and the University of Utah studying genetics, prevalence rates, basic research, medical and behavioral treatments, and educational interventions. These research efforts have continued over the past 25 years studying the etiology of autism, evidence-based treatments, cutting-edge educational techniques, and improving the quality of life for children on the autism spectrum and their families.
The research connections to the University of Utah have been extensive and productive. The Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Educational Psychology have had numerous research projects focusing on genetic causes, the long-term outcome of autism, medical treatments, ABA (applied behavior analysis teaching techniques, and social skills training. The Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning has BCBA (Board Certified Behavioral Analysts) that are trained to provide and supervise the behavioral analysis. The Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Utah has implemented sophisticated eye-tracking technology to investigate the social interactions of children on the autism spectrum. Faculty and members of the department have researched and published several studies focusing on behavioral interventions for parent training, managing severely challenging behaviors, and effective ABA therapy in Utah.
Recent studies have focused on using animated technology, peer modeling, using parents as therapists, and peer coaching to teach social skills to children on the spectrum. These studies using the Superheroes Multimedia Social Skills program have not only emphasized effective techniques but also using those effective techniques to facilitate the everyday use of these social skills in the child’s natural environment. Individual families who participate in these studies benefit in their understanding of autism and in the positive feelings of helping in the advancement of autism research. In turn, many of these educational research practices are utilized in the Pingree Center curriculum and teacher training. The Superheroes program has served as a foundation for a $1 million, five-year federal grant to train psychology graduate students to become at-home ABA therapists for their children.
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