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CARES Clinic Profile

Spotlight On: CARES Clinic

by Emma Carberry
Outreach Coordinator, College of Education

August 3, 2018

SAN MARCOS - One of the College of Education’s great points of pride is its wide variety of centers and institutes that advance relevant research. One such center is the Clinic for Autism Research, Evaluation and Support, better known as the CARES Clinic. CARES  was started in 2010 with a threefold mission: to provide high-quality educational services to children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities; to train current and future teachers and other providers to apply research-based practices relative to this population in schools, homes, and state and private agencies; and to conduct meaningful research that informs that field and potentially improves the quality of life for individuals with these disorders and their families.

CARES Clinic Leadership Team
CARES Clinic Leadership Team

In fulfilling that mission, CARES plays a unique role within the college by serving all three of its departments. For students in the Curriculum and Instruction Department’s Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis master’s program, the clinic is a site where they can complete their practicum. Because the CARES clinic is approved as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst intensive practicum site, students can complete their practicum in fewer hours with more supervision. These graduate students also have the opportunity to conduct research alongside Dr. Russell Lang, CARES Executive Director, and Katy Davenport, CARES Clinical Supervisor/Educational Director, as well as to explore their own research interests through the clinic.

For students in the School Psychology program within the Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education and School Psychology Department, the clinic is a place to hone their assessment skills. Faculty and student teams use comprehensive assessment techniques to determine the appropriate diagnosis for CARES clients. Finally, for Dr. Ting Liu, associate professor in the Health and Human Performance Department, CARES is a great referral area for the Autism Summer Camp she runs at Texas State. The camp allows children across the spectrum of autism disorders to have an additional socialization space, while also providing learning experiences for undergraduate and graduate students who work as camp counselors.

Not only does the CARES Clinic serve the three departments of the College of Education, but it also aids the local community. At any given time, the CARES Clinic serves around 100 clients between school district visits and in-clinic services. The clinic is open to anybody with a developmental disability (not exclusive to autism) and clinic clients have ranged in age from two to 50. CARES clients work toward set goals, with the length of their treatment depending on mastery of these goals. These goals include mastery of functional skills (e.g. communication), adaptive skills (e.g. toilet training and eating), and behavior skills (e.g. decreasing aggression). In addition to the clients they serve daily, the clinic also has a waiting list of over thirty people.

To advance the second part of their mission, the CARES Clinic also currently conducts training workshops that are funded by two separate grants. The first is a parent training grant which allows clinic staff to work directly with parents of those with developmental disabilities to train them on how to support their children at home and in the community. The course is taught at no cost to the parents. The second grant funds workshops for teachers, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, practitioners and school staff on behavior interventions, goal setting, data, and other relevant subjects. These workshops allow professionals working in the field to continually refresh their knowledge and count toward required continuing education hours.

For more information on the CARES Clinic, visit their website: http://cares.education.txstate.edu/