Autism Support & Behavior Therapy

Autism Support

Harwood is one of the few agencies in Shelby and surrounding counties with both specialized preschool & therapy programs for young children with autism spectrum disorders.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 68 children will be diagnosed with autism. At Harwood Center a team lead by a board certified behavior analyst along licensed special education teachers, educational specialists & behavior technicians are trained to develop intervention programs for children diagnosed with autism.

Center-based ABA Services

Research demonstrates that Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is quite effective in teaching new skills and reducing problem behaviors for children with autism and other developmental disorders.

Harwood Center recognizes the struggle families encounter coordinating educational and therapeutic services recommended for their children. To address this need, Harwood Center operates a classroom based therapy program built on the principles of ABA during regular preschool hours. Families have the option to enroll their children in both Harwood’s ABA classroom and specialized pre-school programs.

Harwood Center

ABA classrooms are located at Harwood’s UT Boling Center location as well as Hope Presbyterian Preschool location.


711 Jefferson Avenue (within the Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities)
8500 Walnut Grove Road (within Hope Presbyterian Preschool)
8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Monday through Friday
After school ABA offered from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Contact Harwood directly to inquire about home & community based ABA services.

Behavior Therapy

Harwood Center has a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) on staff to provide consultation to classroom teachers. Additionally, the BCBA is available to work with families who have children with challenging behavior in their homes.
Research has shown ABA to be effective in teaching skills across all domains to typically developing children, as well as children diagnosed with developmental disabilities other than autism. Specifically, ABA behavior management techniques have been proven effective in reducing inappropriate behaviors and increasing appropriate behaviors among typically developing children and children with other diagnoses. 

The following are some of the areas in which the ABA therapy can provide assistance:

  • Loss or lack of language
  • Social interaction problems
  •  Repetitive behaviors
  • Poor play skillsPoor eye contact
  • Issues with parent-child relationships or sibling relationships
  • Attention problems
  • Aggression
  • Sleep problems
  • Tantrums
  • Mealtime problems

Developing programs for children with autism spectrum disorders

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst develops and oversees programming for children receiving ABA services. Consultation is also provided to the families to assist in carrying out program goals in the child’s home.  

Services are provided by behavior specialists and registered behavior technicians.  Our team will work with families to determine if further evaluations are needed.

Applied Behavior Analysis

Harwood Center uses intervention based on the principles of applied behavior analysis and verbal behavior. Some of the teaching methodologies used are: discrete trial teaching, natural environment teaching and pivotal response training. These interventions are carried out in a 1:1 setting and generalized to assure carryover of skills across people, settings, and materials.

  • To increase good behavior (through reinforcement procedures)
  • To teach new skills (systematic instruction and reinforcement procedures teach functional life skills, communication skills, or social skills)
  • To maintain good behavior (teaching self-control and self-monitoring procedures)
  • To generalize or to transfer behavior from one situation or response to another (from classroom to home and community)
  • To restrict or narrow conditions under which interfering behavior occurs (modifying the learning environment)

To reduce interfering behavior (self-injury or stereotypy).

Behavioral Consultative Services and ABA supervision

Monthly or bimonthly consultative services are provided by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst specializing in children with autism spectrum disorders.

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst develops the programming for each child.  Behavior technicians carry out the day to day interventions under the supervision of the behavior specialists and board certified behavior analysts.