Center for Autism and Related Disorders

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Center for Autism and Related Disorders
FounderDoreen Granpeesheh, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Area served
ServicesABA-based therapies, including early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) and social skills training
DivisionsAutism Care and Treatment (ACT) Today!
CARD Academy

The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD), founded in 1990 by Doreen Granpeesheh, is among the largest autism treatment organizations in 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, intensive behavioral interventions based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA), as well as diagnostic and psychological assessments.[1]

Theoretical assumptions[edit]

CARD researchers have published over 50 research articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and have contributed over 20 chapters to edited scientific texts.[1] CARDs philosophy and behavioral 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 behavior.
  • Behavior 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]

Behavioral treatment[edit]

CARD uses early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI), that focuses on encouraging appropriate behaviors and replacing destructive behaviors while also teaching the child all the skills they are lacking, for as long as 30–40 hours per week.[2][3] Subsequent studies replicated the general findings of Lovaas and indicate that treatment should begin as early as possible. Children who receive more treatment hours per week have better outcomes than those who receive fewer.

Most of the clients treated at CARD enter the program at age 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 behavior 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 21, CARD focuses on independent living skills, successful employment, development of leisure activities, friendships and attending school.

The content of 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.[1]

Clinical outcomes[edit]

A study conducted by Dr. Granpeesheh, the founder of CARD, and her colleagues 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.[4] Studies on the outcome of CARD treatment have replicated the general findings in the published literature, which is that intensive 25 or more hours per week of treatment, beginning at a young age, optimizes positive outcomes, even resulting in recovery for some children.[5]


Staff members at CARD, as well as four families whose children received treatment from them, were featured in the documentary Recovered: Journeys Through the Autism Spectrum and Back. It was directed and edited by Michele Jaquis in collaboration with Granpeesheh. The film won the Best Documentary award at the 2008 Director's Chair Film Festival,[6] and was an official selection at the 2008 Victoria Independent Film Festival.[7] It received an award at the 2009 ReelHeART International Film Festival.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Siri, Ken; Lyons, Tony; Arranga, Teri (2010). Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61608-025-9.
  2. ^ "Autism: Law make insurers cover therapy - for now". San Francisco Chronicle. Oct 12, 2011.
  3. ^ "Ole Ivar Lovaas dies at 83; UCLA psychology professor pioneered autism treatment". Los Angeles Times. Aug 6, 2010.
  4. ^ Granpeesheh, D; Tarbox, J; Dixon, D. R. (2009). "Applied behavior analytic interventions for children with autism: A description and review of treatment research". Annals of Clinical Psychiatry (21): 162–173. PMID 19917210.
  5. ^ Granpeesheh, D.; Tarbox, J.; Dixon, D. R.; Carr, E.; Herbert, M. (2009). "Retrospective analysis of clinical records in 38 cases of recovery from autism". Annals of Clinical Psychiatry (21): 195–204. PMID 19917210.
  6. ^ "The Director's Chair Film Festival 2008". Archived from the original on 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  7. ^ Victoria Independent Film Festival 2008
  8. ^ ReelHeART International Film Festival 2009 Archived 2009-03-26 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]