Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh to Receive Winokur Research Award from the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists

The Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD), the world’s largest provider of top-quality behavioral intervention services to children with autism, has announced Founder and Executive Director Doreen Granpeesheh, PhD, BCBA-D, has been awarded the 2011 American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists (AACP) Winokur Award for her research article, “Retrospective Analysis of Clinical Records in 38 Cases of Recovery from Autism,” which was published in the August 2009 Annals of Clinical Psychiatry. The award will be presented at the AACP Annual CME Conference to be held at the McCormick Place Hotel in Chicago on April 15-17, 2011.

Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh with Derek Song (recovered from autism, using the CARD curriculum).

“I am honored to receive this award,” says Dr. Granpeesheh. “This study is the first step in a line of research we (CARD) are doing that will further document recovery, identify variables that support and prevent it, as well as improving the effectiveness of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) treatment so that a greater percentage of children can recover.”

Dr. Granpeesheh led the CARD research team on the first study ever to document recovery in a large group of children with autism. “Retrospective Analysis of Clinical Records in 38 Cases of Recovery from Autism” study found that some children with autism who receive early intensive behavioral intervention recover from the disorder, achieving functioning levels that are indistinguishable from typically developing peers.

The researchers, Doreen Granpeesheh, PhD, BCBA‐D, Jonathan Tarbox, PhD, BCBA‐D, Dennis R. Dixon, PhD, and collaborators Edward Carr, PhD, and Martha Herbert, MD, PhD, summarized the outcomes of children with autism who achieved IQ scores in the average range, significant increases in adaptive skills, and later lost their Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis.

Study participants’ average age at intake was 3 years, 4 months, and each received intensive behavioral intervention from CARD for a minimum of 12 months. Average IQ was 83.6 at intake and 107.9 at discharge. Average adaptive skills were 68.04 at intake and 88.87 at discharge. Senior clinical staff involved with the treatment of the research participants also reported that the children achieved age‐appropriate functioning in school and other areas, and no longer required support of any kind after discharge.

“Children have been recovering from autism through ABA treatment for decades now, but this is the first study to document it in a relatively large group of children,” says Dr. Jonathan Tarbox, CARD Research Director. “Several of the participants in this study are actually in college right now. It’s really amazing to see. Many people in mainstream society are unaware that recovery from autism exists and many still try to deny it. But the fact of the matter is that recovery exists and people working in top-quality ABA programs have seen it for years.”

“It’s important to keep in mind that this study was just a retrospective review of whatever data were already present in the charts of clients who achieved recovery, so we were very limited as far as what data we could get. For our current and future research projects related to recovery, our definition of recovery is the most rigorous that has been proposed in the field and includes:

1. Loss of eligibility for an ASD diagnosis according to the DSM and the ADOS

2. Score in the average or above‐average range (one standard deviation below the mean or higher) on standardized tests of intelligence, language, socialization and generalized adaptive functioning

3. Achieve passing grades in a regular education placement, without specialized support of any kind

Dr. Granpeesheh will be presented with the Winokur Award at the AACP Annual CME Conference, to be held at the McCormick Place Hotel in Chicago on April 15-17, 2011.

About Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh:
Dr. Granpeesheh has dedicated over thirty years to helping individuals with autism lead healthy, productive lives. Dr. Granpeesheh began her studies in autism as an undergraduate student at UCLA. While completing her graduate degree there, she worked with Dr. Ivar Lovaas on the world-renowned outcome study published in 1987 which showed a recovery rate of close to 50% among the study’s research participants. She earned a PhD in Psychology from UCLA in 1990.

Dr. Granpeesheh is licensed by the Medical Board of California, the Texas, Virginia and Arizona State Boards of Psychologists, and the Dubai Healthcare City. She earned a Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

She is an active member of many boards whose mission is to advance the treatment of autism. She is on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Autism File Magazine, Autism 360 and the 4A Healing Foundation. Dr. Granpeesheh is on the Practice Board of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the Board of Directors of InCept and is a member of the Autism Human Rights and Discrimination Initiative steering committee, the North Los Angeles County Task Force of the Senate Select Committee on Autism, and the Oversight Committee of the Department of Developmental Disabilities for the State of Arizona. She also is the founding member and President of Autism Care and Treatment Today (ACT Today!), a nonprofit organization that helps families access effective treatment.

Dr. Granpeesheh is known throughout the world as an expert in the field of autism research and treatment. Specific areas of expertise and research include curriculum development from early intervention through the early stages of adulthood, diagnostic, developmental and behavioral assessment, higher order skill acquisition, long term outcomes, and the effects of medical interventions in conjunction with behavioral programs. She has trained thousands of professionals and families on her treatment techniques and curriculum, leading to a faster dissemination of quality treatment information.

Dr. Granpeesheh has not only helped tens of thousands of families, but has successfully helped many children and young adults attain their highest potential, giving further merit to the notion that autism is treatable and that affected individuals can lead independent, meaningful lives.

About the George Winokur Research Winokur Award:
The American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists (AACP) established its Clinical Research Award in 1979. Winners are selected annually from original research published during the calendar year. The Awards are given at the next Academy conference. Judging is conducted by the Academy’s Research Award Committee and all decisions are final.

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