General Health Care Social Services

New short-term residential treatment program opens for youth with disabilities

Written by Mindia Whittier

The program provides intensive treatment for youth with severe behavioral challenges who have not responded to treatment in community-based settings.

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Texas recently launched a new short -term residential treatment program at its League City campus for autistic youth.

The program, which also serves youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), is based on Devereux’s Short-Term Autism Intensive Residential Services (STAIRS) model. It provides intensive treatment for youth with severe behavioral challenges and skills deficits who have not responded to treatment in traditional community-based or residential settings.

The STAIRS model was developed at Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Intellectual and Development Disabilities Services Center.

“We are incredibly proud of the positive outcomes achieved through STAIRS with a majority of our youth showing a decrease in the frequency of challenging behaviors and an improvement in functional communication skills, and we look forward to achieving similar outcomes in Texas,” said Devereux Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical/Medical Officer Yolanda Graham, M.D.

Devereux Texas’ new residential program serves youth, ages 8 to 17, with:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Moderate to severe intellectual disability
  • Moderate to severe communication and adaptive behavior skills deficits
  • Behavioral challenges that require intensive supervision and support
  • Other disorders are considered case-by-case, based on adaptive, communication, behavioral, and educational needs.

Devereux Executive Director of Autism Services Todd Harris, Ph.D., who helped develop the STAIRS model and has been providing training and support to Devereux Texas team members throughout the implementation of the new program to ensure fidelity, says there is a significant demand for these types of services.

“Many children and adolescents with autism and psychiatric and behavioral health concerns are served successfully in their homes with community supports,” said Devereux Executive Director of Autism Services Todd Harris, Ph.D., who helped develop the STAIRS model. “However, about 10 to 15 percent of these individuals demonstrate serious behavioral disorders that require expert and intensive treatment. Traditional residential treatment facilities frequently struggle to support the treatment needs of this challenging population. Our STAIRS model addresses those needs to help individuals thrive.”

Individuals enrolled in Devereux Texas’ new residential program receive comprehensive clinical services and support. The goal of the program is to help youth achieve:

  • Maximized self-sufficiency
  • Improved ability to complete everyday tasks independently
  • Opportunities to build social connections with support in an environment based on inclusion and respect for individual variability
  • Behavior change built on individual strengths with treatment oversight from a Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Devereux is one of the largest and most advanced behavioral healthcare nonprofit organizations in the country.

About the author

Mindia Whittier