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Services & Programs

The La Salle Autism and Developmental Disabilities Educational Resources (LADDER)
Family Center
is located on the West Campus of La Salle University. The Center is the result of an interdisciplinary team of faculty and staff working collaboratively to provide an array of courses, programs, services, partnerships and relevant research that will lead to superior services for the families of children with special needs while also providing best practices to La Salle students. The center works closely with local schools and community groups.

Our mission is to positively enhance the quality of life for youngsters and their families who are dealing with issues related to a variety of disabilities. Families are embraced as partners in the process to provide a unique, coordinated and multidisciplinary experience to create positive expectations, actions, and solutions in this goal. LADDER staff works closely with the administrators, staff, children, and Home and School Associations to develop exemplary programs and services.

Services to families dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Developmental Disabilities (DD)

The goal of providing services to families dealing with ASD and DD will be achieved largely through the interdisciplinary work of the LADDER Family Center. 

 The Center provides direct support and coordination of services, accessibility to various community programs and direct therapeutic services according to individual family needs.  Some of the programs include: Parent Workshops, Published Directories of Services, Family Therapy, Speech-Language services, Technology training.  Plans for expansion for next semester include: enhanced LaSalle student field placements, Respite care options, Art and Music Therapy, Educational and scholastic support programs, an electronic Newsletter and professional development opportunities

The LADDER Family Center will:
Provide expert, direct support and coordination of Services
Provide practical accessibility to programs and direct therapeutic services
Provide individualized services according to each person and family

LADDER Family Center programs may include:
Parent-to-parent workshops
Professional development programs
Published directories of services
Respite care options
Community outreach services
Family therapy
Speech-language services
Music and art therapy
Education enrichment activities
Pastoral counseling

Coordination of Services
The LADDER Family Center’s menu of services will include the following components:

The Education Department will provide educational services in accordance with each child’s scholastic program, which may include implementing appropriate instruction, conducting observations of behavior, assisting children with learning socialization skills, and providing accommodations and effective interventions.  Undergraduate and graduate students will work with special needs children in the Center, and faculty will monitor these practical field-based experiences. 

Speech-Language-Hearing Science
The Speech-Language-Hearing Science program will provide speech-language services for children with ASD and DD.  Graduate students will be supervised during direct service provision by licensed/certified speech-language pathologists.

Marriage and Family Therapy
The Marriage and Family Therapy program will focus on assisting families to effectively handle the stress that comes with the demands of raising a special needs child.  These services will be provided by graduate level interns who are rigorously trained in a systems approach to therapy.  A systems approach to therapy addresses issues within the context of relationships.  This approach seeks to assist families and couples to deal with stress, strengthen and expand their understanding, improve communication, develop and enhance coping skills and attend to the emotional needs of all family members, including, but not limited to the special needs child.

Social Work
The Social Work program will provide intake services for families at the LADDER Family Center.  Students in the Social Work program will complete protocols, gather psychological history and participate as members of the multidisciplinary team for the development of service plans.  Furthermore, they will participate in peer support groups for families and individuals seeking services.  In addition, they will provide information regarding community resources, including benefits and referrals to programs for which individuals and families may be eligible.

Social work students will also provide outreach to community groups and agencies that come into contact with the target population.  This includes staffing community days, speaking to community groups regarding services available at the LADDER Family Center, and reaching out to identified families and peer support groups that serve the population.  Social work students will be instrumental in identifying gaps in services to families and disseminating results of needs assessments to faculty and staff at La Salle, community leaders and policy makers.

Pastoral Counseling
The faculty and students in the Pastoral Counseling program will work in concert with colleagues in the Education, Speech-Language-Hearing Science, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Social Work programs to assist leaders in the greater religious community in seeking ways to improve access to spiritual support services for members of the ASD and DD communities.  Potential offerings may include workshops and short courses.

Respite Care, Seminars, and Workshops
In addition to the program specific services outlined above, the LADDER Family Center will offer respite care for families impacted by ASD and DD and sponsor a series of workshops and/or seminars to address topics of particular interest to these families. 

2013-14 LADDER Family Center Programs

  • Parent-to-parent workshops are scheduled at La Salle University in St. Benilde Tower at Wister Street and Olney Avenue in Room 2241, on the West Campus from 11 am – 1 pm on the following dates:

    Dates and Topics are:
    September 26: “Autism Issues in the Home”
    October 24: ”Academic Support for Children”
    November 7: ”Community Outreach”
    December 5: ”Behavioral Issues”
    February 13: ”Caregiving and Healthy Lifestyles”
    March 13: ”Community Connections”
    April 17: ”Long Term Family Planning”
    May 15: “Classroom Enrichment Activities”

  • Afterschool Enrichment Program (LEAP) on Thursday nights from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

  • Our Published “Resource Directory” is posted on web-site at

  • A Marriage/Family Therapist Intern is available to work with individuals.

  • A Social Worker Intern is available to assist youngsters and families.

  • A Movie Night and/or Saturday Family Fun Day is being planned.

  • Technology Training for parents (LTAP) provides FREE laptops for parents, following a ten week training course on Monday evenings.

  • A Family Special Event is scheduled for the Spring at La Salle University with workshops, vendors, giveaways, food, and special guests!
  • Lots of other special programs are being developed!

Stay Involved
Contact Robert Mack at or Ana Flores at