My name is Dr. Debra Rausch, and I currently oversee St. Vincent’s Special Needs Autism Services at the Feroleto Center in Trumbull, Connecticut. I simply like to be called Debi, or as some of our student’s prefer, Dr. Deb. A bit of information about me…
I have worked in the field of autism and behavior analysis since 1985 and am excited to bring my passion for educating individuals with autism to the St. Vincent’s Feroleto Center. My initial training in autism and applied behavior analysis took place at Rutger’s University Douglas Developmental Disability Center. In my early years, I worked as a behavior specialist for children with autism at the Eden Institute in Princeton, NJ and for the San Diego Center for Children’s School for Autism. I spear headed the opening of several school-based programs serving individuals with autism in Hawaii and the San Diego school districts. My love of empirically-driven behavioral interventions led me back to the research domain where I spent several years as a research scientist at Laura Schreibman’s Autism Research Laboratory at the University of California examining behaviorally-based language training procedures, specifically Pivotal Response Training (PRT) and the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). I have presented at many local, state, and national conferences in the field of behavior analysis and autism.
Over the last 3 decades I have seen many dramatic changes within the field, and have learned so much from incredible individuals, especially my students with autism and their families. Our School Program has been certified by the State Department of Education as an approved private special education program since 1955. It is offered as an alternative placement to school systems and families for children ages three to 21 with multiple developmental and/or medical needs, e.g., cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, seizure disorders, neuromotor diseases and/or medical conditions requiring nursing support services.
We recently expanded our services to serve students with autism spectrum disorders. We have constructed a unique multi-sensory learning environment to meet the specific needs of students with autism. For more information about Feroleto Center go to www.stvincentsspecialneeds.org.
I have created “Let’s Talk Autism” as a resource for anyone interested in autism, including professionals, parents and family members, caregivers, and people on the spectrum. My hopes are that this online community and discussion forum will serve as a valuable tool for those whose lives have been touched by autism.
Welcome, and I am greatly looking forward to many valuable discussions on “Let’s Talk Autism”!