The Centre for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD)

World leaders in Autism Treatment

The Centre for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) 

CARD was founded in 1990 by Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, based in the USA, is among the largest Autism treatment organisations in the world. CARD’s stated mission is to provide the highest quality ABA behavioural intervention to children with autism around the world. CARD provides a range of services for children and adults with autism, pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger’s disorder and other disabilities within the autism spectrum. These services include home-based behavioural interventions based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), diagnostic and psychological assessments

CARD researchers have published over fifty research articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and have contributed over twenty chapters to edited scientific texts.[1] CARD’s philosophy and behavioural approach assumes the following to be true:

  • Recovery from autism exists.
  • All people within the autism spectrum are capable of learning.
  • Everything a person says or does is considered behaviour.
  • Behaviour can be improved and enhanced via learning opportunities.

While Dr Granpeesheh believes that all people with ASDs are capable of learning and recovery, she states there is currently no way to predict the outcome of treatment for any individual.[1]

Applied Behavioural Model

CARD uses Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), a form of intervention therapy pioneered by Dr. Ivar Lovaas called the Lovaas technique that focuses on encouraging appropriate behaviours while discouraging destructive behaviours. Subsequent studies replicated the general findings of Lovaas and indicate that treatment should begin as early as possible. Also children that receive more treatment hours per week have better outcomes than those who receive fewer.

CARD’s treatment is commonly referred to as early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI). Most of the clients treated at CARD enter the program at the age of two and receive intensive services over the course of four years, with the ultimate goal of recovery at age six. For these children, the first year of treatment consists of intensive work on language and behaviour with progression into social skills in the second year, more abstract cognitive and executive functioning skills in the third, and a gradual fade-out of services in the final year. The intensive services are usually provided initially in the child’s home, with a transition to the child’s school and community as the child’s age allows. For older clients, aged ten to twenty-one, CARD. focuses on independent living skills, successful employment, development of leisure activities, friendships and attending school.

CARD’s curriculum addresses all areas of human functioning across the following eight domains: language, play, social skills, motor, academic, adaptive skills, cognition and executive functioning.

Clinical Outcomes

A study on the effects of CARD treatment found that greater intensity of treatment and beginning treatment at a younger age both contribute to faster learning rates during CARD therapy. Of note is a finding that 96 percent of the group studied met criteria for ASD according to the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule at intake, while only 64 percent still met the ASD criteria after two years of CARD treatment. Studies on the outcome of CARD treatment have replicated the general findings in the published literature, which is that intensive twenty-five or more hours per week of treatment, beginning at a young age, optimises positive outcomes, even resulting in recovery for some children.

CARD also offers a page of resources and information for further understanding autism.

View videos of children with autism spectrum disorders sharing their Portraits of Hope.