Quality Activities in Center-Based Programs for Adults with Autism

Quality Activities in Center-Based Programs for Adults with Autism

Moving from Nonmeaningful to Meaningful

1st Edition - August 9, 2016

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  • Authors: Dennis Reid, Marsha Parsons
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128094099

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Quality Activities in Center-Based Programs for Adults with Autism: Moving from Nonmeaningful to Meaningful describes what constitutes meaningful versus nonpurposeful activities for adults with autism and other severe disabilities in a classroom or center-based program. Then this step-by-step guide presents an evidence-based process for changing nonpurposeful activities, using behavior analytic research and application. The goal is to help ensure adults with autism and other severe disabilities are engaged in week-day activities that truly enhance their income-earning capacity, independence with life skills, day-to-day enjoyment, and overall dignity.

Key Features

  • Summarizes the existing state of activities for adults with autism and severe disabilities in center-based programs
  • Covers how to empirically assess and monitor participation in meaningful activities
  • Details evidence-based procedures for changing existing activities to become more meaningful
  • Provides maintenance strategies for ensuring activities continue to be meaningful on a daily basis


Practitioners working in adult service settings including behavior analysts, consultants, supervisors, clinicians, and administrators. The content will also be relevant for family members and advocates who strive to ensure adults with autism and other severe disabilities experience a desirable quality of life on a daily basis

Table of Contents

  • Series Foreword: Critical Specialities in Treating Autism and Other Behavioral Challenges

    • Purpose

    Chapter 1. Historical Challenges and Needed Improvements in Center-Based Services for Adults With Autism

    • Abstract
    • Purpose and Organization of Quality Activities in Center-Based Programs for Adults With Autism
    • The Role of Behavior Analysts and Other Practitioners Regarding Activities Provided in Center-Based Programs

    Chapter 2. Current Professional Consensus Regarding Meaningful Activities

    • Abstract
    • Working in Real Jobs for Real Pay
    • Working in a Supported Job
    • Sheltered Work
    • Center-Based Activities

    Chapter 3. An Evidence-Based Protocol for Improving the Meaningful Utility of Center-Based Activities

    • Abstract

    Chapter 4. Specifying Criteria for Meaningful Versus Nonmeaningful Activities

    • Abstract
    • Meaningful Guideline 1: A Task That Someone Would Have to Perform for a Person if the Person Could not Perform the Task Him/Herself Outside of the Center
    • Meaningful Guideline 2: A Task That Once Mastered, a Person Could Be Paid to Perform as Part of a Real Job
    • Meaningful Guideline 3: A Task That Adults Typically Do During Leisure Time
    • Meaningful Guideline 4: A Task is Part of an Interpersonal Interaction That an Individual Would Perform Once Mastered at Least Weekly Outside of the Center or It Would Not Be Unusual for an Adult to Perform at Least Weekly
    • Meaningful Guideline 5: A Task That Would Likely Be Performed by Adults in a Community Setting

    Chapter 5. Assessing Meaningful Versus Nonmeaningful Task Participation

    • Abstract
    • Monitoring Meaningful Task Involvement
    • Summarizing Meaningful Task Involvement
    • Evaluating Results of Monitoring Meaningful Task Involvement
    • Special Considerations in Monitoring and Evaluating Meaningful Task Involvement

    Chapter 6. A Staff Training and Supervision Plan to Increase Meaningful Activities

    • Abstract
    • Laying the Groundwork for a Successful Staff Training and Supervision Plan
    • Training and Supervising Staff to Make Changes With Ongoing Activities
    • Case Examples of Staff Training and Supervision Programs to Increase Meaningful Activities in Center-Based Programs
    • Some Special Considerations When Implementing Plans to Increase Meaningful Activity Participation

    Chapter 7. Maintaining Meaningful Activity Participation

    • Abstract
    • The Key to Maintaining Staff Provision of Meaningful Activities: Monitoring and Feedback
    • The Staff Supervisor’s Role in Maintaining Meaningful Activities
    • The Clinician’s Role During Maintenance
    • Dealing With Staff Turnover
    • Additional Considerations
    • Conclusion

Product details

  • No. of pages: 92
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2016
  • Published: August 9, 2016
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128094099

About the Authors

Dennis Reid

Dennis H. Reid is the founder and director of the Carolina Behavior Analysis and Support Center. His company has more than 25 years of experience providing assisted employment to persons with severe disabilities. Dr. Dennis Reid has more than 45 years of experience working with individuals with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, in educational, residential, vocational, and community support settings. He has provided advice to human services organizations in most US states, as well as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. He has written or co-written 15 books and more than 140 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on applied behavior analysis. He earned the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities International Research Award in 2006 and Fellowship membership in the Association for Behavior Analysis International in 2007.

Affiliations and Expertise

Carolina Behavior Analysis and Support Center

Marsha Parsons

Marsha Parsons has worked for 35 years teaching and directing educational and vocational day services in schools and residential programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism. She has co-authored over 50 refereed journal articles as well as book chapters, manuals and 7 books and curricula aimed at enhancing the skills of practitioners in the field of developmental and related disabilities. She has received awards for her work from the North Carolina chapters of both the Association for Behavior Analysis, and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. In 2015 she received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award from the Office of the Governor of North Carolina in recognition of her service and contributions. Ms. Parsons currently works as a Senior Consultant with the Carolina Behavior Analysis and Support Center.

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