Intensive Outpatient Program
Training caregivers to reduce challenging behaviors

We support caregivers in finding the right strategies to decrease behaviors that interfere with the safety and/or success of your child

What is the purpose of the Complex Behavior Support Program’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

This program focuses on finding strategies to address behaviors that may:

  • Cause concern for risk of injury to your child or others
  • Interfere with your child's ability to succeed in school or community settings
  • Significantly interfere with family routines and activities


We will work with you and your child to minimize the impact of concerning behaviors, while bolstering your skills and strengths. Common behaviors of concern that we address include, but are not limited to:

  • Aggression
  • Self-injury
  • Property destruction
  • Elopement (running away from caregivers)
  • Pica (eating non-food items)


Common skills we try to strengthen include, but are not limited to:

  • Communicating wants and needs
  • Learning to wait for preferred items/activities
  • Completing academic tasks
  • Daily living skills
  • Toileting skills


How do you determine a treatment plan?

We will observe behaviors using an assessment called a functional analysis. This assessment will happen during the first few weeks of your child’s admission to IOP. It helps us learn more about the reason your child engages in certain behaviors and what strategies will be most useful to teaching alternative skills.

We will then review several treatment options. Treatment goals are matched to the individual needs of the child and family. We focus on adjusting the environment, teaching your child key skills, and educating caregivers on how to consistently respond to their child's needs to facilitate a well-rounded approach.

When are the appointments?

Admissions vary in length, but can vary from 12 to 36 weeks or longer. The timeline is dependent on your child’s targeted behaviors and progress during the program.

Your child will come to the center Monday through Friday. The time of their visit will be either 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where are the sessions located?

Services generally take place at Marcus Autism Center. Once we find an effective treatment plan, we will train parents, teachers and other care providers to use the strategies that help your child succeed. Training may occur at:

  • Marcus Autism Center
  • Your home
  • Your child’s classroom
  • Other community settings, like grocery stores or restaurants


What is needed before admission?

Pre-admission orientation
Once your child is on the IOP wait list, it is mandatory that at least one caregiver complete the pre-admission orientation. This orientation must be completed in order for your child to be eligible for admission to the program.

Pre-admission medical clearance
Prior to your child’s admission to IOP, you must complete a medical clearance packet outlining your child’s previous and current medical history. Upon review by a nurse practitioner, you may have a follow-up appointment with them to ensure we are fully aware of your child's medical needs.

What is the attendance policy?

Our program can work only if you and your family participate regularly. We will re-evaluate your child’s admission if there are excessive cancellations or absences from sessions. The attendance policy defines excessive cancellation as five absences. We will notify caregivers once their child has been absent three times. During that time, we will discuss this policy and see if there is a better time to complete the admission.

Who must be present during services?

Your child must be present each day, Monday through Friday. You and the child’s other primary caregivers must be present for:

  • An admission meeting to discuss policies, goals and expectations. This meeting occurs on the first day of admission at Marcus Autism Center
  • A home visit scheduled for one day during the first week of the admission, which allows our team to observe the child and caregivers as they interact in a natural environment (At least one primary caregiver must be present for the home visit)
  • Weekly caregiver meetings to update you on your child’s progress; these can be virtual
  • Caregiver training, which typically starts halfway through the program, but timing is dependent on your child’s progress. We often plan for at least two to four weeks of training. While daily participation in training is recommended, we may accommodate caregiver schedules, although this may prolong this phase of the program. Training for caregivers and teachers is conducted in appropriate settings


Follow-up services

After your child’s successful admission to our program, we are dedicated to ensuring you and your child experience long-term success. To do so, we offer ongoing semi-regular appointments to touch base with you and your child. During these appointments, we discuss updates on goals achieved through our program and observe how you continue to use strategies at home. These appointments may continue until no longer needed or until your child ages out of our services (i.e., 22 years old).

During follow-up services, we aim to:

  • Ensure treatment strategies continue to be successful.
  • Modify strategies to accommodate new concerns or ease of use at home.
  • Keep you connected to our wealth of resources as your child grows and enters new settings.


What do follow-up services entail?

A caregiver and your child should be present for follow-up appointments to practice utilizing strategies learned over the course of IOP. Appointments will initially be scheduled once a week and may occur in your home, in clinic, in the community or via telehealth. These appointments will be decreased over time (e.g., biweekly, monthly, every other month) as deemed appropriate based on progress. Attendance policies are the same as IOP.