Children's Behavioral Health
LifeScape provides highly specialized therapy and psychology services for children. Our team of experts provides a range of evaluation and treatment services for a variety of conditions and disabilities. All of our Children’s Behavioral Health Services are offered at our Autism and Child Development Center in Sioux Falls.
Applied Behavioral Analysis
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) uses the principles of learning to teach or improve critical skills needed for independence. LIfeScape’s ABA therapy program is an intensive intervention that helps children with autism and other developmental disabilities learn these skills using the principles of ABA. It is designed for children who have a diagnosis or display symptoms of Autism or other developmental disabilities up to age 18.
Each program is tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual, with intervention occurring in our clinic, at home*, or in a combination of settings. Parent involvement and training is essential for skill progression and is a central concept in our outpatient behavior program.
Behavior therapy is eligible for insurance covered (including Medicaid) for those 18 and younger with a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and physician referral.
- Assessment of current skills levels
- Development of an individualized intervention plan
- Provision of intervention services
- Monitoring of progress and skill acquisition
- Each program designed and supervised by a Masters of Doctoral level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA or BCBA-D)
- Intervention implemented by a combination of trained technicians, therapists, parents, and BCBA or BCBA-D.
- Displays too much or not enough of certain behaviors
- Lacks the ability to imitate others (an important skill to have in order to develop other life skills)
- Lacks self-care skills
- Lacks play skills
- Displays signs of physical aggression, self-injury, or other problem behavior
- Adaptive living skills (eating, dressing)
- Expressive language (labeling objects, asking for items)
- Receptive language (following directions, identifying objects)
- Play and leisure skills (how to play with toys, expanding interests)
- Social skills (initiating conversations, responding to questions, engaging in interactive play)
- Basic academic and pre-academic skills
- Pre-academic behaviors (sitting in a chair at a desk or table, refraining from grabbing materials)
- Toilet training
- Each program is tailored to meet the child’s specific needs
- Flexible scheduling options
- One-on-one intervention with a trained therapist
- Group sessions are available with a focus on individual goals
- Data collected each session and reviewed frequently to monitor progress
- Use of the principles of ABA in behavior therapy is supported by a large research base
Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)
Children age 1-5 with autism or autism-like symptoms benefit from ESDM. This program combines ABA and developmental methods in an interdisciplinary treatment mode. The team includes professionals from psychology, behavior therapy, speech-language pathology, and occupational therapy.
Therapy goals utilizing the ESDM approach are addressed through play-based activities and address all areas of child development. ESDM is the only comprehensive treatment model with support from a randomized controlled trial that has been shown to be effective for children as young as 18 months of age and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
LifeScape speech-language pathologist Megan Wiessner, MA, CCC-SLP, is the first and only clinician to be certified in Early Start Denver Model and leads the LifeScape therapy team in delivering these services.
Free Autism Screenings
We provide free autism screenings for children four and under at LifeScape. The clinicians who administer screenings specialize in autism treatment. No referral is needed—simply contact us at your convenience to set up your appointment. The screening takes about one hour to complete. We will gladly answer any questions you have about your child’s development and behavior and let you know if we recommend a full evaluation.
Comprehensive Autism Evaluations
Our multidisciplinary team provides comprehensive autism evaluations to determine if a child has an autism spectrum disorder.
The Autism Evaluation Team includes a psychologist, speech-language pathologist, and occupational therapist. Together, they assess all aspects of your child’s needs, with clinical consultation by pediatric psychiatrist, David Ermer, M.D., LifeScape's Medical Director of Behavior Services.
Referrals & Funding
Autism evaluations require a referral from the child’s physician or school. Funding sources are insurance or Medicaid (if the referral is made by a physician) or school districts (if the child’s school makes the referral). LifeScape will take care of billing for the evaluation.
What to Expect
The evaluation takes about four hours. Afterward, we will give you an educational and/or medical diagnosis depending on your referral/payer source. We’ll walk you through what the results mean for you and your family, and answer any questions you may have.
No other organization in the region can match LifeScape’s level of staff expertise in treating children with autism.
LifeScape’s doctorate-level clinical psychologists use cognitive behavior therapy to help children and adults with a variety of mental health diagnoses and other challenges. Through one-on-one or family therapy, they focus on the unique needs of the person or situation. Their goal is to provide tools and supports to promote individual and/or family growth and healthy relationships.
Our psychologists provide evaluations and testing in several areas, including:
- Autism Evaluations (as part of the LifeScape Autism Diagnostic Team)
- Psychological Assessments
- IQ/Cognitive Achievement, due to academic difficulties
- ADHD Diagnostic testing
Treatment Specializations include (but are not limited to):
- Depression/mood disorders
- Adjustment problems
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Partner/relational problems
- Parenting support and positive parenting
- Phase-of-life problems
- Grief and coping
- Behavioral interventions with children
- Behavioral feeding problems
- Stress management
- Therapy for families of children with disabilities