In January 2020, Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services (RCAAS) Founding Executive Director, Christopher Manente, Ph.D., BCBA, and SungWoo Kahng, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Associate Professor and Director of Academic Programs in Autism and ABA at GSAPP, visited Kolkata, India for the India Autism Center's Second Annual International Conference. This was a holistic three-day-conference on “Autism: Diversity and Integration.” The conference brought together professionals, researchers, educators, and parents from around the globe and opened conversations on the leading research and clinical practices in the field of Autism. It also provided comprehensive, evidence-based information to assist educators, other professionals, and families in developing effective educational programming for all students with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).
Dr. Manente and Dr. Kahng spoke on a group panel with other renowned experts about effective behavioral intervention for individuals with autism throughout the lifespan. Dr. Manente also gave an individual presentation focused on teaching the audience how universities can be leaders in addressing the lack of services and opportunities for adults on the spectrum throughout the world. Dr. Manente spoke to how the main problem in the field is that “there is no qualified workforce of practitioners to adequately serve this population of adults with autism.” He explained that there is no established field of practice related to adults - no literature, no validated practices, and no formal training methods of practitioners.
The RCAAS model was developed with the idea that universities should be at the heart of solving this crisis. This groundbreaking model, the only one of its kind around the globe, is working to establish a workforce of highly trained practitioners to meet the already overwhelming need for high-quality services for adults on the spectrum. This model is unique and individualized; participants in the RCAAS programs receive custom, tailor-made services. All of the practices are based on the principles of applied behavioral analysis (ABA). A team of researchers work with RCAAS staff to fine-tune formal training models for practitioners. According to Dr. Manente, the RCAAS also aims to “disseminate research focused on addressing issues faced by autistic adults out into the world so that the next generation of excellent adult programs don’t have to start from scratch.”
Watch videos from this conference:
Christopher Manente, Ph.D., BCBA, and SungWoo Kahng, Ph.D., BCBA-D, at the India Autism Center (picture below)