A Comprehensive Approach to Autism Diagnosis and Treatment

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 a child’s individual developmental progress.

What You Can Expect

Our process begins with an initial 15-minute phone consultation with one of our therapists, at no charge, to hear your concerns and determine which of our therapists is best suited to the family’s needs. We then schedule a first session with the parents, followed by a session or two with the child or with the child and parents together.

During the assessment process, the therapist shares his or her impressions and recommendations with the parents, and together they design a course of treatment.

Diagnostic Services

Family Compass is committed to a comprehensive approach to evaluation and intervention.

Assessment and Diagnosis: In addition to utilizing the “gold standard” of diagnostic evaluation tools (ADOS-2, ADI-R), we use interactive sessions to deepen our evaluation process. After a comprehensive assessment, we provide parents with a roadmap for intervention and practical therapy recommendations to support their child’s developmental progress.

Early Intervention

Our Early Intervention Program is unique in combining methods from two leading interventions to support children’s early development: Developmental Interactive Therapy (DIR/Floortime) and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

Developmental Interactive Therapy (DIR/Floortime): The Floortime approach to intervention is a comprehensive foundation model that utilizes affect-based interactions and experiences tailored to the individual needs of the child and parents to promote progress up the developmental ladder. Through weekly in-office sessions, 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.

ABA

Family Compass is committed to providing our client’s with individualized services that support development with compassion and a respect for the individual child. Our Board Certified Behavior Analyst works closely with the family to complete an individualized assessment of the child to obtain an in-depth understanding of the child’s strengths and areas of challenge. Based on the assessment and in consultation with the family, the BCBA then creates an individualized treatment program focusing on strengthening children’s skills in areas such as expressive and receptive language, decreasing maladaptive behaviors, increasing independence with activities of daily living, increasing social skills, and parent training, guidance, and support. Services may be provided in office by our BCBA or in the home with Registered Behavior Technicians under the BCBA’s supervision.

Mental Health Services

Many children with autism and related developmental differences experience challenges with attention, anxiety, and depression. Family Compass’ Developmental Program recognizes the need to support the mental health needs of children, adolescents, and young adults on the spectrum and provide individualized treatment to support the development of skills and strategies for managing complex mental health challenges across the life span.

Family Support

Autism and related developmental differences impact more than the person with the diagnosis, they impact the entire family system. That’s why Family Compass provides resources, support, and training to families free of charge through our monthly Autism and Developmental Differences Parent Coffees. The Parent coffees occur the first Tuesday of each month in Family Compass’ offices from 10:00-11:30. The purpose of our group is to provide a forum for families to access our clinicians’ expertise in an informal environment, while also allowing families to connect with one another to share their successes, struggles, and acquired knowledge and wisdom.

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...

Family Compass Videos

Parenting Your Young Child with Autism: Tips for a Calmer Child & Family

Parenting Young Children with Autism: Tips for Increasing Engagement & Communication