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UW-Eau Claire to Open ADHD/Autism
Behavioral Intervention Clinic
MAILED: Dec. 13, 2001
EAU CLAIRE — Chippewa Valley families with children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or autism will have a new resource available to them at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
UW-Eau Claire faculty and students will work with area families through the newly created Behavioral Intervention Clinic, a clinic that will provide year round behavioral intervention services for children.
"This is exciting," Dr. William Frankenberger, psychology professor, said of the clinic, which will be housed in the Human Development Center in the Health and Human Services building. "There is a huge need to provide intervention services for kids identified in the schools with ADHD. Many kids receive medications for ADHD but they're not getting the behavioral intervention that teaches them self-control and how to be more productive."
Research shows that children diagnosed with autism make the most gains if they receive intensive behavioral intervention - 30-40 hours per week - before the age of 5, something few programs in the area can provide, said Dr. Kevin Klatt, assistant professor of psychology.
The Behavioral Intervention Clinic will provide three primary services:
Provide services to children with ADHD or autism and their families.
Provide opportunities for faculty and students to conduct research related to the application of applied behavioral analysis to the ADHD and autism populations.
Provide educational opportunities for UW-Eau Claire students interested in pursuing national applied behavior analysis certification.
"All of these activities are inter-related," Frankenberger said of the clinic's services. "And all of them are important to the clinic, its clients and our students."
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued a statement recommending that every child prescribed medication for ADHD also participate in a behavioral intervention program, said Frankenberger, director of the HDC. Frankenberger said his research on ADHD in western Wisconsin also found that behavioral intervention should supplement medication, but that few children receive the intervention part of the treatment plan.
"This is a need that we've known about for a long time," Frankenberger said. "We finally have the pieces in place to carry out our ideas."
When Klatt joined the psychology faculty this fall he brought with him credentials in the applied behavior analysis field that enable him to supervise undergraduate and graduate students as they prepare for the Applied Behavioral Analysis National Certification exam. To sit for that exam, students must take required behavioral analysis coursework, earn a bachelor's or graduate degree, and complete a six-month supervised work experience in the field. UW-Eau Claire's psychology department offers the required coursework, and students can work under Klatt's supervision in the clinic to complete the internship portion of the certification requirement.
Applied behavior analysts use behavioral principles and procedures to teach new skills and reduce challenging behavior, Klatt said. "It's looking at the relationship between behavior and environmental factors - it's a scientific approach to behavior problems," he said, adding that national certification for behavior analysts is new to the field in the past few years.
UW-Eau Claire's emphasis in behavioral analysis sets its psychology program apart from other programs, Klatt said, adding that UW-Eau Claire is the only school in the Wisconsin system (and one of few nationally) that has developed a behavioral emphasis that prepares students to pursue national certification in applied behavior analysis.
"And the clinic will set us apart even more because few programs in the country offer both the coursework and a supervised internship setting on campus," Klatt said.
As a result, job opportunities or opportunities to attend top graduate schools will be significant for graduates of the program, Frankenberger said. "This program is already generating interest among employers because of the skills our students are acquiring," he said.
As nationally certified applied behavior analysts, graduates can work in a variety of settings that serve the needs of children, youth or adults with cognitive, emotional or behavioral challenges, Klatt said.
And a national mandate requires children who are evaluated for special education programs be assessed for challenging behavior through a behavioral functional assessment, Frankenberger said. "Our graduates will be viewed as unique because they will be certified to do those assessments," he said.
"The clinic will offer a fantastic source of motivated and well-prepared clinicians in some of the most challenging areas of behavioral concerns in our society today," said Dr. J. Todd Stephens, a special education professor who has taught applied behavioral analysis courses for more than 20 years. "The university's response to a community need is an example of how university-based expertise can serve the broader community."
Stephens will assist the clinic staff and students with its analysis of problem behaviors, drawing on his years of experience working with children and adults exhibiting problem behaviors in school, home and community settings.
Initially, the ADHD/Autism Clinic will serve a small number of clients, but the numbers will increase as more students enroll in the program and as additional funding becomes available, Frankenberger said. The clinic will accept ADHD clients this spring, and the autism program will begin this summer.
"The HDC has a reputation for working with families with education-related difficulties," Frankenberger said. "This clinic will enhance that reputation because we'll be providing much-needed services to parents and children in the region."
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Dec. 13, 2001