6. Younger Adolescents Program

(Middle School and Early High School)

Programs for the younger adolescent are highly individualized and are generally short-term and problem focused. A variety of approaches are employed by our treatment team specific to the needs of the adolescent and his/her family. These treatments may be delivered in individual and/or group formats and include evidence-based techniques such as structured teaching, social stories, functional behavior assessment with behavior treatment planning, pivotal response training, cognitive behavior therapy, speech and language therapy, social groups, and enhanced milieu therapy, along with medication management when indicated.

Exterior of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain building

The Center for Autism and the Developing Brain.

What goals are addressed?

Our treatment team works with families to implement intervention strategies across home, school, and community settings. Behaviors targeted include:

  • building communication skills (e.g., self-advocacy, initiating and sustaining conversations appropriately)
  • promoting peer relationships
  • enhancing success in the academic setting, including ensuring that the school placement and school services are appropriate to support the individual in meeting his/her long-term academic goals (e.g., identification of appropriate diploma program, testing accommodations, etc.)
  • building adaptive/functional skills to increase independence and accountability (e.g., self-care and hygiene)
  • decreasing maladaptive behaviors
  • managing symptoms of comorbid medical or psychiatric conditions, such as depression and anxiety

What does the program look like?

Adolescents come to the center one to two times a week with their parent or caregiver (with additional hours available depending on the needs of the child, where a family lives, and parents/caregivers' interest in participating in group activities). Usually, one of the weekly sessions is an individual meeting between the adolescent (and/or his parents) and a professional on the treatment team (e.g., psychologist, speech pathologist, psychiatrist), and one session is conducted in a group format with separate child and parent components. Individual treatment sessions are also sometimes carried out at the adolescent's school or home instead of at the clinic.

Each visit involves:

  • for individual family sessions: the adolescent and caregiver meeting separately or together with a treatment team member, reviewing weekly progress towards goals, modifying goals as necessary, planning for continuation of relevant services at school and/or in the community
  • for adolescent group sessions: the adolescent learning and practicing social and communication skills with other young people with ASD of approximately the same age and language level, as well as with typically developing same-aged peers and professional group leaders
  • for parent group sessions: the parents meeting with other parents and professional group leaders to discuss goals of the child group sessions and strategies for working toward these goals outside of the clinic setting



NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health Center
21 Bloomingdale Road
White Plains, NY 10605