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Kiwanis Club Hall, 2515 Valley Dr, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
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What is LA FEAT?

LA FEAT is Los Angeles Families for Effective Autism Treatment. LA FEAT was founded by parents of autistic children. LA FEAT is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization for parents and families of children with autism. We have a board of directors of parents of children with autism. We serve families in greater Los Angeles and the surrounding counties.

What is LA FEAT’s mission?

LA FEAT believes that newly diagnosed children with autism should receive intensive, quality, effective treatment that is based in research. LA FEAT’s mission is to provide education to families and the community on effective autism treatments, and to provide support to families seeking effective treatments for their children on the autism spectrum.

What is effective autism treatment?

Applied Behavior Analysis has been proven effective through published, long-term, replicated research. If appropriate, we believe that children with autism should start a quality, intensive ABA program as soon after diagnosis as possible.

Why does LA FEAT exist?

Most children with autism never receive the quality, intensive services that research shows could give them their best chance to overcome the debilitating impact autism will have on their lives.

Many parents in Southern California have never heard of ABA. Or they may have been told that their school or regional center agency “does ABA.” But parents often don’t have any way to evaluate the quality or effectiveness of school and regional center autism programs.

That’s why LA FEAT is here. Formed by parents of autistic children, we understand how hard it is to get reliable information on effective therapy for our kids. We want every autistic child to have the opportunity to get the results offered by a quality, research-based program.

LA FEAT provides support to families not available anywhere else in Southern California, free of charge. At our monthly meetings, parents hear about the latest autism research and practices from the most respected experts around. They can meet other parents and learn about local agencies providing quality programs. And they can get advice on navigating “the system” to secure funding for services for their child.

LA FEAT has helped dozens of families link up with providers of quality, research-based programs for their autistic children. As a result, these kids now have opportunities to maximize their potential that come from receiving the most effective autism therapy available.

What can LA FEAT do for me?

Monthly meetings

Please join us at our monthly meetings, which are free and open to the public. Although our meetings are geared toward parents and families, professionals are also welcome. Typically, each meeting has a featured speaker who is an expert in some aspect of autism services. After the presentation is a question and answer period, followed by “mingle time” where attendees can chat informally with our speaker and members of our board of directors. Some people who have spoken at LA FEAT meetings include: Dr. Ivar Lovaas, founder of the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention (LIFE), Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, founder of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), Dr. Sebastien Bosch, co-founder of California Unified Service Providers (CUSP), Scott Cross, Director of Clinical Services for the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention (LIFE), Eric Maier, co-founder of the California Unified Service Providers (CUSP), Bruce Bothwell, a prominent special education lawyer in the Los Angeles area, Valerie Vanaman, a prominent special education lawyer and partner at Newman Aaronson Vanaman, and Janice DeMore, a local speech pathologist.

Meet our board’s children and see their ABA programs

Our board of directors welcomes families of children with autism who are seeking ABA programs for their own children to come to our homes, meet our children and see their ABA programs first-hand. You can contact our board of directors through our email address (info@lafeat.org).

Get information about local ABA providers

LA FEAT has a list of recommended ABA providers who offer the quality, intensive programs that research shows provide the most benefit to children with autism. We encourage parents to carefully research service providers and choose the one that fits their needs best. See Local Providers and Professionals.

Get information about obtaining funding

LA FEAT can provide advice on working through your regional center or school district to get services for your child. If needed, we also refer parents to attorneys and advocates to support you in the process.

Get information about independent assessments

A thorough psychological assessment of your child with good recommendations is critical to ensuring that your child will receive the services that best match his or her needs. LA FEAT has a list of psychologists that can offer these types of assessments. We encourage families to research these providers to find the one that will meet their needs best.

What can ABA do for my child?

In one landmark study (Lovaas, 1987), nearly half (47%) of young children with autism treated by an intensive ABA program achieved normal intellectual and educational functioning by the end of first grade. In these programs, the goal is to increase skills in language, play and socialization, while decreasing behaviors that interfere with learning. The results can be profound. Many children with autism who have ritualistic or self-injurious behaviors reduce or eliminate these behaviors. They establish eye contact. They learn to stay on task. Finally the children acquire the ability and the desire to learn and to do well. Even if the child does not achieve a “best outcome” result of normal functioning levels in all areas, nearly all autistic children benefit from intensive ABA programs.

What about older children?

ABA can benefit older children too. If you have an older child that has never tried ABA, we encourage you to try it to see if your child benefits.

What should I expect from an ABA program?

LA FEAT has compiled a list of components we feel are important to the success of an ABA program. Please see Components of a Quality ABA Program.

What funding sources are available for my child’s ABA program?

School districts and regional centers are required by law to provide services for individuals with developmental disabilities, including autism. Schools are required to provide or fund appropriate educational services. Regional centers are required to provide or fund services to maximize the individual’s potential.

What can I do if my school district or regional center will not provide appropriate services for my child?

Both have appeal processes where parents can present information for reconsideration. LA FEAT has a list of attorneys with experience pursuing appropriate services for autistic children, including ABA programs.

What is the difference between the services provided by Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) workshop programs and clinic programs?

In an ABA workshop program, the parents recruit and hire aides (also called tutors or therapists) and a senior aide. The agency provides a qualified ABA professional to design the child’s individualized program, and train and supervise the aides on a consultation basis.

In an ABA clinic program (also called center-based program), all services are provided by the agency, including the professional consultant, aides and senior aide.

For both types of programs, parents are required to secure funding for the services, either through their school district, regional center, or other sources.

What about other therapies (biomedical, floortime, RDI, etc.)?

There are many autism therapies other than ABA that are available, and we believe that many of these therapies have helped some children with autism. In time, we hope there will be other therapies that also will be shown to be effective through rigorous research.

LA FEAT encourages parents to start with a quality, intensive ABA program. You may also want to consider alternative therapies, particularly if you child is not progressing to your satisfaction in the ABA program. Ultimately, of course, every parent must determine which treatments are best for their children.

If you are interested in learning more about other therapies for autism, there is an excellent support group available called TACA (Talk About Curing Autism). Their web site address is www.tacanow.com.


Disclaimer: Everything contained herein is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be misconstrued as legal, medical, or any other type of professional advice. Nothing contained herein is intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from your own medical and legal professionals. LA FEAT makes no promises, guarantees or implied agreements as to the accuracy or completeness of anything contained or referenced to herein, or how such may affect your family. Please seek out your own professional advice before making any decisions concerning your child.