Family Compass’ developmental program is for families with children ages 1 to 6 years old who present with the following:

  • Noticeable delays in communication and engagement with others
  • Rigid or constricted interactions and play skills
  • Diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder, or developmental delays.

We highly value intervening early in the child’s life, as research and our clinical experience clearly indicate that intervening early makes a real and lasting difference.

We strive to see children as their parents do: a precious gift to be nurtured. We help parents understand their child’s development and clarify the child’s developmental needs alongside their strengths. Recognizing that each child is unique, we aim to provide a clear roadmap of how to support the child’s developmental progress

A Comprehensive Approach

Family Compass is committed to a comprehensive approach to early intervention. We incorporate techniques and methods from the two complementary approaches: Developmental Interactive Therapy (DIR) and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

Developmental Interactive Therapy (DIR): We train parents in specific techniques targeted to increase their child’s engagement, communication, and emotional regulation skills.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): We work with children and their families utilizing behavioral principles to strengthen identified developmental skills across multiple domains.

Program Description

Assessment & Intervention

Initial Assessment Session:

First, we conduct an evaluation session with the child and family with the participation of the three-person, interdisciplinary program staff. This session aims to determine whether initial intervention should emphasize interactive developmental therapy (DIR), ABA therapy, or both.

Intervention

Following the evaluation, intervention planning is done with the family, and a specific intervention program and schedule is developed. Our intervention team includes a licensed clinical psychologist, a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), a clinical social work intern experienced in working with children with autism, and an in-home Registered Behavioral Therapist (RBT). Depending on the needs of the child and family, therapy may be conducted in the offices of Family Compass and/or in the family home.

The Developmental Interaction Therapy–DIR (In-office): Weekly parent coaching sessions are scheduled with the parents, caregivers and child. Parents learn specific strategies to address the developmental challenges of the child that can be transferred to the home environment. Updates to the program are made every 4 months.

ABA Therapy (In-Home): An in-home therapy program is designed and implemented for the child by a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). A registered behavior technician (RBT) under the supervision of the BCBA conducts one-on-one therapy with the child in the home environment. Updates to the program are made by the BCBA to attune the program to the child’s evolving needs. There will be monthly sessions in home with BCBA to observe work with RBT and consult on program.

Developmental Center Professional Team

Moshe Shtuhl, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist
(Clinical Director & Consulting Therapist)
Dr. Moshe Shtuhl is the founder and director of Family Compass since 1996. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Clinical Psychology at George Washington University. Dr. Shtuhl worked as an army psychologist in his native Israel before arriving in the U.S. to pursue doctoral studies in 1987....

Billie Harber, BCBA

Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Ms. Harber is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and is licensed by the Board of Medicine to practice as a Behavior Analyst in the state of Virginia.  She also holds a master’s degree in special education. Ms. Harber received a B.S. in elementary education with a specialization in reading...

Becky O’Neill, MSW

Therapist, Developmental Center
Ms. O’Neill received her BS in Social Work from George Mason University in 2001 and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Simmons College School of Social Work. Her studies and experience have focused on empirically supported interventions for children and adults with developmental...