Autism Support and Behavior Therapy

Autism Support

Harwood Center is one of the few agencies in Shelby County and the surrounding areas with both specialized preschool and therapy programs for young children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 68 children will be diagnosed with autism. At Harwood Center, a team led by a board certified behavior analyst, licensed special education teachers, educational specialists, and behavior technicians, is trained to develop specialized and individualized intervention programs for children diagnosed with autism.

Center-based ABA Services

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

Harwood Center recognizes the struggle families encounter while coordinating educational and therapeutic services recommended for their children. To address this challenge, 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.

ABA classrooms are located at our Hope Church preschool location.


8500 Walnut Grove Road (inside Hope Presbyterian Church)
8:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Monday through Friday
After school ABA offered from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM.

Contact Harwood directly to inquire about home and 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.