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Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

UCLA's short-term day program treats children with psychiatric disorders

12/01/2005

The UCLA Program for the Enhancement of Achievement, Behavior and Cognition (ABC) is a short-term, integrated day treatment program for children ages 3 to 12 years with a wide range of psychiatric disorders. The program adheres to an evidence-based treatment regimen that focuses on cognitive-behavioral therapy in addition to medication. The program was designed to create an individualized, comprehensive and multidisciplinary therapeutic environment to serve the developmental and mental health needs of children and their families.

The ABC program specializes in treating children with the following conditions:

  • Mood disorders including bi-polar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Disorders of impulse control
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Autistic spectrum disorders
  • Other neurodevelopmental challenges including mental retardation

Providing treatment five days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the ABC program is particularly well suited to treating patients early and helping to avoid the need for inpatient care. In many cases, early treatment can produce quicker, more dramatic results and can increase the time between symptomatic episodes.

The ABC program specializes in treating children with the following conditions:

  • Mood disorders including bi-polar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Disorders of impulse control
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Autistic spectrum disorders
  • Other neurodevelopmental challenges including mental retardation

Providing treatment five days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the ABC program is particularly well suited to treating patients early and helping to avoid the need for inpatient care. In many cases, early treatment can produce quicker, more dramatic results and can increase the time between symptomatic episodes.

Program components

The ABC program staff is composed of highly skilled and knowledgeable mental health professionals who have on average over 15 years of experience in pediatric care. The program includes:

  • Behavioral model
  • Medication evaluation and management
  • Academic Iinstruction
  • Speech and language
  • Occupational therapy
  • Recreational therapy
  • Psychological testing
  • Family meetings and therapy
  • Parent training

The program’s behavior model, based on the most current research evidence, utilizes a manualized approach that uses positive reinforcement to shape behavior, focusing on anger management, coping strategies and social skills. The program builds on each child’s strengths to teach the necessary adaptive skills to improve function at home, at school and in the community.

Academic instruction

Daily academic instruction is provided by a Los Angeles Unified School District teacher and a teaching assistant. Each student is assessed and a curriculum is devised to suite his or her individual needs. The program also provides for an educational consultation with recommendations to address educational issues when the patient leaves the program.

Assistance when entering and leaving the program

The patient intake process begins with a dedicated referral nurse coordinator who screens potential patients and helps to manage insurance issues. When new patients are enrolled in the program, they are observed by program members. Their parents provide a complete history of the disorder and complete ratings forms that have proven to be useful.

Throughout the course of treatment, parents work with physicians and case coordinators to remain informed of their child’s status and to support and reinforce the therapy that the program is providing. When it comes time for the patient to transition out of the program, ABC staff provide consultations and assistance to the family to continue the progress made in the day program.

Patient referral

If you would like to have a patient evaluated for the ABC program, please call our referral nurse coordinator.

Valentina Knox, R.N.
(310) 825-0210
Bhavik Shah, M.D.
Medical Director
Mary J. O’Connor, Ph.D., ABPP
Program Director





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