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Our Mission

dddc students walking into school with teacher

The Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center (DDDC) was established by the Board of Governors of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in 1972 to meet the needs of people with autism spectrum disorders and their families.

Affiliated with the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP), the DDDC is governed by the Rutgers University Board of Governors.

The DDDC is approved by the New Jersey State Department of Education, and is a provider for the New Jersey Department of Human Services and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

There is a substantial body of research showing that Autism Spectrum Disorders are caused by genetic, biochemical, and/or neurological deficits. However, until the exact causes of these disorders are found and interventions developed to target the causes, we must focus our attention on teaching individuals to compensate for the effects of the disorders. We use the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to organize our delivery of comprehensive services for individuals across the stages of their lives. We work collaboratively with the families of the children and adults we serve, and with the agencies that fund their treatment.

As a university-based program, our commitment includes the education of undergraduate and graduate students and the dissemination of knowledge through research, training, and consultative services. We also provide information about the treatment and education of people with autism spectrum disorders to the entire professional community and to the general public.

In addition, we are committed to furthering the understanding of the nature and treatment of autism spectrum disorders through research.

What does it mean to be an ABA program?

The DDDC's service delivery model includes:

  • Data-based decision-making
  • Well-trained staff, many of whom are Board Certified Behavior Analysts
  • Use of empirically supported strategies
  • Interventions that span school, home and community
  • High intensity and continuous provision of learning opportunities
  • Systematic assessment of the environment
  • Competency-based staff training
  • Parent training and support to promote collaboration and advocacy

The DDDC uses individually determined strategies that are tailored to the needs of each learner. These methods include, but are not limited to:

  • Strategic and contingent reinforcement
  • Functional Assessment
  • Antecedent interventions
  • Positive behavioral supports
  • Functional communication training
  • Discrete trial instruction
  • Incidental teaching
  • Precision Teaching and Rate Building Procedures
  • Natural environment training
  • Task analysis
  • Community programming
  • Augmentative communication
  • Interventions using the language classification system of Verbal Behavior


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