Hope and Star: Ages 2-21

Parents of children with autism may feel overwhelmed and uncertain about their child’s future. Don’t despair. At Seahorse Institute, there is Hope for children and young adults who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or related behavioral challenges. Under the direction of internationally acclaimed Dr. Michelle Major and affiliated with Dr. Vincent Carbone, Hope is a truly individualized, intensive program that focuses on:

  • Functional language skills
  • Behavioral Intervention
  • Generalizing to the natural environment

In order to provide your child with the most intensive and effective therapy, we provide a 1:1 therapist-to-child ratio. Our program provides therapy within an Applied Behavior Analysis/ Verbal Behavior Therapy (ABA/VBT) environment and meets the individualized needs of each student by taking his or her level of skill and motivation into consideration.

All goals are data-driven, recorded, and plotted to monitor progress. Reports are sent home daily. Individual progress meetings are held monthly for parents of full-time students and every two months for parents of part-time students. Parents are encouraged to participate in hands-on training two weeks after initial enrollment.

Schedule: Two three-hour sessions are offered Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 12 PM and 1 PM to 4 PM. Students may attend a single half-day session or both sessions for a full day of therapy. Parents may choose to have their student enrolled for two to five days a week.
Staff: one teacher/therapist per student (1:1 ratio)

ABA/VBT was developed in collaboration with Dr. Vincent Carbone and other leading experts. It combines Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Verbal Behavior Therapy (VBT). ABA/VBT utilizes the general principles of learning, with an emphasis on the use of positive reinforcement, to solve or reduce problems of social relevance. Over 40 years of research supports ABA-based procedures towards not only reducing problematic behavior but also increasing appropriate skills (communication, social/leisure, academics, activities of daily living, etc.) with individuals with developmental disabilities- including autism.

In light of the overwhelming peer-reviewed evidence base, several national scientific organizations have officially concluded that ABA/VBT is the most effective treatment approach for individuals with autism. These organizations include The National Institute of Mental Health, The Association for Science in the Treatment of Autism, Autism Speaks, and The Organization for Autism Research. The Surgeon Report released the following statement: “(Over) 30 years of research demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavioral methods in reducing inappropriate behavior and increasing communication, learning, and appropriate social behavior.”

Home-based Star Program
The Star program provides ABA/VBT services within the home environment using the same methodology as Hope. It focuses on families who prefer home-based ABA/VBT services or children already enrolled in a clinic-based program needing additional ABA/VBT services.