New England Center for Children: Teaching Independence
The Spaulding Youth Center, under the direction of John Pangburn who had been trained in applied behavior analysis (ABA) at Western Michigan University, was one of the earliest centers to use principles of ABA in the treatment of children with emotional disorders and autism spectrum disorder. Efficacy Research Institute secured a small grant from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health to set up a mini-school to help move children off the wards of the state hospitals. The private school opened its doors in the summer of 1975, immediately becoming a "one of a kind" because of its successful use of ABA to help students learn important life skills. In 2005, Association for Behavior Analysis International awarded New England Center for Children the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis' Award for Enduring Programmatic Contributions in Behavior Analysis. Like other sciences, ABA seeks to determine functional relationships; that is, what independent variables cause certain dependent variables to occur.