History and Mission
The Meredith Autism Program (MAP) started as part of research originally funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The primary aim of the research was to replicate research published by Dr. Ivar Lovaas in 1987.
Lovaas’ development of this method to teach young children with autism began in the 1960s and continued with his landmark study published in 1987—“Behavioral treatment and normal education and intellectual functioning in young autistic children,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 3-9. Lovaas found that some of the young children with autism involved in his study made tremendous gains, never before documented with a specific intervention. To verify that the gains made by these children were truly because of the method of teaching he developed, Lovaas began the research replication site project in the late 1980s.
The Meredith Autism Program became one of these replication sites for Lovaas’ research in 1998. Though MAP maintained an on-going working relationship with LIFE from 1998-2000, we no longer maintain contact with LIFE staff. The MAP Director completed training at LIFE under Dr. Lovaas’ staff but MAP has been operating and researching independently since 2001. MAP does not adhere to the practices of nor associate with the California or New Jersey LIFE organizations any longer.
The mission of the Meredith Autism Program is to provide a behavioral intervention in which children with autism can develop to their fullest potential, provide experience and education in the field of autism to undergraduate students, while validating and expanding the current research.
Goals of Undergraduate Education: Provide Meredith College students with a structured and graded course of study examining the principles of applied behavioral analysis and the application of these principles in a supervised training environment with preschool children with autism and their families. Provide Meredith College students with the opportunity to be involved in research in the field of autism.
Goals of Research: Validate and further expand the current research of applied behavior analysis intervention to children with autism.
Goals of Community Service: Provide a supervised structured training environment in which children with autism can develop more appropriate skills in each of the following domains: play skills; receptive and expressive language; social skills; fine and gross motor skills; self-help skills; and pre-academic skills using one-on-one discrete trial training while providing on-going evaluations and assessments. Train the parents/staff in behavioral intervention principles to insure generalization and maintenance of acquired skills, to provide a better quality of family life and to assist the families in exploring the public education system to provide a smoother transition for children ages 5-7.