February 19, 2015

Kennedy Center welcomes Autism Partnership founder John McEachin on Monday, Feb. 23

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center will welcome Autism Partnership founder and co-director John McEachin, Ph.D., on Monday, Feb. 23, at 4:10 p.m. as he presents a lecture titled “Helping Children with ASD Become More Responsive Learners.” A reception will be held following the lecture.

During early childhood years, children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are not making the same developmental progress as their typically developing peers. Measurable growth in important areas such as language and general knowledge occurs more slowly.

Behavioral scientists have demonstrated that this slower developmental trajectory can be accelerated with an intensive and systematic approach to teaching. This approach can be used to enable children with ASD to learn on their own, rather than simply teaching them the information that they have not picked up through everyday experience. An emphasis on “learning how to learn” skills such as attending to relevant information and learning through observing the success and mistakes of others is central to this approach.

Motivational variables are also extremely important if behavior is to come under the control of social contingencies that are readily available and highly effective in shaping the behavior of typically developing children. This includes overcoming preoccupation with sensory stimulation, patterns, and rituals which interfere with children with ASD being available and motivated for learning.

McEachin is a licensed psychologist who has been providing behavioral intervention to children with autism as well as adolescents and adults with a wide range of developmental disabilities for more than 35 years.

He received his graduate training under Ivar Lovaas at UCLA on the Young Autism Project. During his 11 years at UCLA, McEachin served in various roles including clinic supervisor, research and teaching assistant, and acting director. His research has included the long-term follow-up study of young autistic children who received intensive behavioral treatment, which was published in 1993.

In 1994, McEachin joined with Ron Leaf in forming Autism Partnership, which they co-direct. McEachin has lectured throughout the world and co-authored numerous books and research articles. He consults regularly to families, agencies and school districts, assisting in the development of treatment programs and providing training to parents, group home staff and classroom personnel.

McEachin’s lecture is supported in part by an NIH Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) Program grant (NIMH #1000301; Vanderbilt site PI Paul Yoder). Click here to register to attend.

For more information, call 615-343-4265.