Severe Behavior Program

severe-behavior-with-play-buttonThe Severe Behavior Program provides a variety of treatment options for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities who engage in problem behavior.




The goals of services provided by the Severe Behavior Program are to:

  1. Understand why the problem behavior(s) is occurring
  2. Develop a treatment to reduce problem behavior and increase appropriate behaviors
  3. Work with caregivers to integrate treatment strategies into the home and community settings

The Severe Behavior Program uses the most current and empirically supported assessment and treatment strategies, based upon applied behavior analysis (ABA). The Severe Behavior Program at the Marcus Autism Center is one of only a few programs in the country with the specialized physical facility, highly trained staff, and sufficient expertise to assess and treat severe problem behavior in an intensive context.  We provide a continuum of services ranging in severity to meet each child’s individualized needs.  Our team consists of highly trained board certified behavior analyst (BCBA, BCBA-D) and licensed psychologists.

Common referral concerns include:

  • Aggression (hurting others)
  • Disruptive/destructive behavior
  • Dangerous behavior
  • Self-injurious behavior (hurting self)
  • Pica (eating non-food items)
  • Elopement (running away)
  • Noncompliance
  • Toilet training


Severe Behavior Intake

The first step is the intake process. Our team meets with the caregivers to find out how best to serve the child’s needs. This meeting is important. It lets us match the child to the most appropriate treatment program.

During the meeting, we will:

  • Collect information about the family’s main concerns.
  • Discuss which treatment services might best fit their needs.
  • Observe the intensity of problem behavior.

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Severe Behavior Day Treatment Program

The Severe Behavior Day Treatment Program focuses on finding treatment to reduce dangerous or disruptive behaviors and increase appropriate behaviors.

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Brief Behavioral Interventions Program

The Brief Behavior Interventions Program (BBI) focuses on working with caregivers to identify effective behavioral interventions to address specific behavior problems in the home and community settings and on providing coaching to those caregivers so that they can implement those strategies successfully.

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Parent Training Program

Parent Training is a program developed and tested to decrease challenging behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This will involve a having parents learn to implement a number of strategies such as what can be done to prevent the behaviors, to manage behaviors once they have occurred, to teach new skills that could replace a problem behavior, and to promote positive behaviors instead of the challenging behaviors.

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Toilet Training Program

The Marcus Autism Center Severe Behavior Program offers treatment for toilet training. The treatment typically consists of regular trips to the bathroom, reinforcement for using the bathroom appropriately and teaching your child to ask to use the bathroom. The three different toilet training programs available are:

  • Three-day Brief Behavioral Intervention Toilet Training Program
  • Two-week Intensive Toilet Training Program
  • Two-week Bowel Movement Training Program

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If you are interested in having your child evaluated by our team, you must obtain a physician referral and complete the steps to make a new patient appointment.


Programming is supervised by doctors licensed by the Georgia State Board of Examiners of Psychologists. Therapies are provided by behavior therapists working under the supervision of licensed doctors.