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Upstate opens Family Behavior Analysis Clinic


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Upstate Medical University has opened the Family Behavior Analysis Clinic to assess and treat behavioral disorders in individuals aged 2 to 21, primarily those with developmental disabilities, such as autism. The clinic is jointly operated by Upstate's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Pediatrics It is currently offered as an outpatient service through Upstate's Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic.

The Family Behavior Analysis Clinic benefits individuals whose behaviors put them or their family at serious risk for diminished health. Specifically, it offers a continuum of services for individuals who display the following types of behavioral difficulties: noncompliance, tantrums, food selectivity/refusal, toileting difficulties, property destruction, aggression, and self-injurious behavior.

"Although the majority of the treatment occurs in the clinic setting, treatments are evaluated across multiple environments, including the home and school or daycare," said Clinic Director Henry Roane, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Upstate.

Individuals admitted to the program receive comprehensive behavioral assessments and interventions that are based on the results of a diagnostic interview; analysis of parent-child interactions; systematic functional analyses to identify potential variables maintaining the child's inappropriate behavior; and individualized treatment analyses.

"Treatments are not developed without data received from the functional analysis," said Roane. "This information is critical to allow us to develop an individualized treatment plan that is always based upon the process of reinforcement."

Based on the results of the functional analysis, clinic staff will evaluate potential interventions for the child's behavior to determine the best treatment plan that would be implemented by his parents, school personnel, or other caregivers, following training.

"Once we evaluate and identify an effective intervention, we train caregivers to implement the procedures with at least 90 percent accuracy," Roane said.

Roane adds that the interventions are designed to decrease problem behavior to a socially acceptable level and to replace it with alternative, appropriate responses. "Our goal for each child is to decrease the occurrence of their problem behavior and discharge the child to their home environment and community school," he said.

Once the patient is discharged, clinic staff provide follow-up community-based services and ongoing case consultation in the child's home and school. This follow-up continues until all relevant caregivers are successfully trained to implement the intervention.

The Family Behavior Analysis Clinic is based on the world-renowned treatment programs developed at the Neurobehavioral Unit at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, which has been in existence for 30 years.

Roane completed his pre-doctoral internship at the Neurobehavioral Unit and has successfully developed and overseen programs modeled on this approach in Atlanta and Omaha before his recent move to Upstate Medical University.

Besides Roane, the clinic is also staffed by Heather J. Kadey MS,, who serves as a clinical supervisor and a research scientist at Upstate.

To learn more about the clinic, call 315-464-3145 or go to www.upstate.edu/gch/providers/group_list.php?department_id=87