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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.

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. 

2016-2017 LADDER Family Center Workshops

  • Each monthly workshop is held from 11am – 1pm in Room 225 St. Benilde/ Center Tower on the West Campus of La Salle University. Lunch is always provided! Specific Workshop announcements will be posted each month. We hope you can join us!

    Please Pre-Register to be entered into our Raffle at or call 215.991.2945


    Workshop Topic


    September 22

    Parental Support and Best Practices

    Icylee Basketbill

    October 20

    Basic Issues Regarding Sexuality and Special Needs


    November 10

    First Responders and Special Needs Children

    Andrew Brown & Michael A. Jackson

    December 1

    Communication Issues

    Evelyn Klein

    February 9

    Community Resources and Support Teams

    SW & MFT

    March 16

    Family Resources and In-Home Support

    Beth Garrison

    April 27

    Transition Schools and the Workplace


Stay Involved
Contact LADDER at