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Clinical Core

Clinical Core Director: Elisabeth Sheridan, Ph.D, Associate Professor

Jessica Day-Watkins, Ph.D, BCBA., Assistant Research Professor

Ashley Dubin, Ph.D, BCBA., Licensed Psychologist

The Clinical Core provides the capacity to conduct psycho-social, behavioral and neuro-psychological assessments in support of the Autism Institute’s mission. Located in a clinic on Drexel's campus in University City, the Clinical Core houses a team of licensed psychologists and certified school psychologists and behavior analysts, with access to other related mental and behavioral health-care workers.

Clinical Consultation

The Clinical Core works with schools and community agencies to build their capacity to provide evidence-based supports to the individuals they serve, including those on the autism spectrum. AJDAI Clinical Core staff have expertise in a range of topics, including but not limited to autism, evidence-based interventions, school consultation, and inclusion-based approaches. Trainings on specific topics or several related content areas can be provided via workshops of varying length, coaching, or a combination of these formats. 

Our training team customizes programs to best meet the specific needs of individual agencies in terms of the staff involved, population served, and the agency’s goals and objectives for training. Workshops typically include didactic presentations as well as small and large group activities and discussions. Trainees may also have an opportunity to make usable resources, role play, and develop action plans for ways that they will implement the training content in their settings. Workshops are tailored for those with beginning through advanced levels of knowledge and experience. Topics include:

Trainings & Professional Development Offerings

Introduction to Autism

Participants will learn an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder, including the diagnostic criteria as well as information about different frameworks that guide how we understand and support individuals on the autism spectrum across the lifespan.

Understanding Interfering Behavior and Functional Behavioral Assessments

Participants will learn research-supported ways to understand why individuals engage in behaviors that are unsafe or otherwise interfere with their functioning. Training includes a basic overview of behavioral principles and how to conduct a thorough Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA).

Choosing an Intervention 

Participants will become familiar with a wide range of evidence-based strategies and how to develop plans to effectively support a variety of students, including information on how to identify appropriate interventions and supports based on results of a Functional Behavioral Assessment.

Implementing & Monitoring Progress of an Effective Behavior Support Plan 

Participants will learn how to gather the necessary information for the behavior plan, train staff on intervention and data collection procedures, monitor progress and implementation fidelity, make data-based decisions, and ensure that the supports can be used across settings.

Functional Communication Training (FCT)

Participants will learn about the components of FCT (e.g., prompting, reinforcement), steps involved in planning for and implementing FCT, and benefits of FCT (e.g., promoting independence and self-advocacy skills). 

Performance Based Staff Training

Although didactic trainings are commonly implemented in community settings, there is little evidence that they produce changes in implementation practices. Participants will learn how to develop a performance-based training for any evidence-based intervention that they wish to implement (i.e., in their school or community setting). 

Setting up the Classroom for success

Participants will learn environmental considerations, evidence-based strategies, and universal supports that provide the basis for student academic, behavioral, and social success in the classroom. Additional trainings regarding specific strategies and steps on how to use them are also available to add on or as stand-alone trainings. 

Data Collection

Participants will learn about user-friendly technologies available for managing data—including websites, software, and iPad apps—and an introduction to a few that are most relevant for participants. The goal of this training is to help participants identify technology that fits their needs and learn how to incorporate technology into their daily routine.