CSH RUCARES Severe Behavior Program

Children's Specialized Hospital and Rutgers Health logos

Children’s Specialized Hospital (CSH) is proud to announce the opening of CSH RUCARES which is a collaborative effort with Rutgers University and the Rutgers University Center for Autism Research, Education, and Services (RUCARES) at the Brain Health Institute (BHI).

RUCARES and subsequently CSH RUCARES, are the first centers of their kind in New Jersey dedicated to innovative research, education and services. They focus on diagnosing, treating, and supporting children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This collaboration provides the opportunity to partner on care and research for those with ASD with significantly challenging behaviors throughout their lifespan.

The Severe Behavior Program at Children's Specialized Hospital -- Rutgers University Center for Autism Research, Education, and Services (CSH-RUCARES) provides intensive and highly specialized services to children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder who frequently engage in destructive behaviors such as aggression, self-injury, and property destruction that pose a risk to self, others, or the environment and cannot be safely and effectively treated in a less intensive program and/or with medication.

To determine whether your child is appropriate for the Severe Behavior Program, please complete the screening questionnaire below. We look forward to the possibility of working with you and your family!

To determine if your child is appropriate for this program please fill out the screening linked below.

CSH RUCARES Severe Behavior Program Brochure

CSH RUCARES Screening (English)

CSH RUCARES Screening (Espanol)

About the Severe Behavior Program

The CSH RUCARES Severe Behavior Program is located in Somerset, NJ and provides specialized services to children and adolescents with autism and other developmental disabilities who display dangerous behavior such as self-injury, aggression, property destruction, and pica.

Children displaying severe behavior problems may:

  • Pose significant health risks to self and others
  • Interrupt their own learning and development
  • Cause immeasurable stress and hardship for families
  • And, be at risk for long-term institutionalization

The CSH RUCARES Severe Behavior Program works to improve the quality of life for children with severe behavior disorders and their families by:

  • Providing the most advanced and comprehensive treatment services
  • Continuing to develop and refine effective treatments through clinical research
  • And, promoting effective treatment technologies through training and consultation

The CSH RUCARES Severe Behavior Program offers services including evaluation, outpatient, half-day, and full-day treatment programs. Each child moves through the program based on his or her individual needs. During therapy sessions, techniques are used to identify environmental variables that may be contributing to the behavior problem. A specialized therapeutic environment is used to allow safe evaluation of dangerous behaviors.

Therapists record occurrences of specific child and parent or caregiver behaviors. Session-by-session data are then graphed, reviewed, and analyzed multiple times each day by therapists and supervising behavior analysts or psychologists. Data are used to guide assessment and development of treatment, and treatment is refined until goals are achieved.

A board-certified behavior analyst at the doctoral level (BCBA-D) or a psychologist with specialty training in applied behavior analysis oversees all therapy sessions. Assessments and treatments for each patient receive daily peer review by multiple senior behavior analysts and staff.

Meet our Pediatric Severe Behavior Team

For questions about our program or to check on the status of your application, please call Jared Salasko at 908-325-9763.

Treatment Outcomes

More than 100 research investigations published in peer-reviewed journals have documented the success of our treatment approach. Destructive behavior is reduced by 80-100 percent in more than 90 percent of children who receive this treatment approach. In almost all cases, the treatments developed are equally effective in the child’s natural environment at the time of completion.

Clinical Services

The program provides service to school-aged children (ages 3-21) who display severe destructive behavior, such as self-injurious behavior, aggression, or property destruction that poses a significant risk to self, others, or the environment and who cannot be safely managed or effectively treated in a less-intensive program.

  • Initial Evaluation: The family and child are seen by a team of specialists with training and expertise in the assessment of severe destructive behavior. Some children require only an evaluation and written recommendations, while in some situations, outpatient, half-day, or full-day treatment will be required. Intake paperwork will need to be completed by the family prior to the initial evaluation.
  • Half-Day Treatment: Children with moderately severe behavior problems will be seen daily for two to three hours.
  • Full-Day Treatment: Children with the most severe behavior problems will be seen for up to six hours per day, five days per week.
  • Parent Training: Caregivers attend weekly trainings to learn critical skills (e.g., how to respond to problem behavior safely and effectively, how to improve compliance). Once an effective treatment is developed, parents and other care providers are trained on how to use it. The long-term success of the treatment depends on how accurately the program is carried out by parents, in-home aides, and other care providers. To facilitate accurate use of the treatment, training for parents and caregivers involves written and spoken instructions, modeling, role play, and feedback.

CSH RUCARES Severe Behavior Program Brochure


Children's Specialized Hospital
200 Somerset Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(888) 244-5373

Severe Behavior Program - Pediatric Treatment & Care

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