Stepping Stones Learning Center OPWDD Community Programming.

Overall Philosophy

Stepping Stones Learning Center offers continuing support to Children and Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities and Autism through state funded support from the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities.  Our Unique programs offer numerous different types of services for families and clients in the Monroe County area.  Our prime focus is to provide innovative, goal directed support to meet the goals of the families and clients that we work with.  Each Case is handled on a personal level and therapy and intervention techniques will be centered on feasible and attainable goals for each client and family. 

Our programs are designed to meet the specific challenges that occur in the home and community settings and bridge the gap between services provided in the school setting.  Our team of knowledgeable Behavior Consultants and Behavioral Assistants with work with families, schools and medical staff to provide the best most inclusive services so that your child has the potential to succeed in each program. 


Behavior Management Program

The Behavior Management and Support Program is for individuals with developmental disabilities between the ages 3-21 who are Medicaid Waiver eligible and are experiencing problematic behavioral issues within their daily environments. These difficulties are causing the client to be unsuccessful in their school or home setting.  The goals of this program are to provide an evaluation of the current behavior difficulties and to develop individualized behavior guidelines or behavior support strategies including but not limited to reinforcement schedules, token systems and encouragement, as determined necessary. Training individuals responsible for the care of the clients on how to successfully implement the positive behavior support strategies is important to effectively reduce challenging behaviors.

The intent of this program is to teach family/caregivers how to effectively manage behaviors so that services maybe successfully faded and no longer necessary.  The program is not intended to function as respite services for families.  Clients could then transition to our Hourly Respite Care or Autism Support Program if these services are deemed appropriate.  Consultations with the family, the client and others will occur on a quarterly basis to determine the services needed.


  1. A child must be diagnosed with a qualifying developmental disability. 
  2. The child must be between the ages of 3-21
  3. A child should demonstrate behavioral excesses or deficits that negatively impact his or her quality of life.
  4. A child must be Medicaid Waiver eligible and able to receive OPWDD Services with a Notice of Decision (NOD) eligibility letter
  5. Due to the child’s disability the quality of life of that child and his or her family is negatively impacted, or their quality of life is diminished, due to the behaviors.


  1. To teach individuals enrolled in the program appropriate behaviors and/or coping skills to reduce challenging behaviors.
  2. To provide parent training or community trainings on positive behavior strategies and assist in implementing in the home and/or community.

Autism Support Program

The Autism Support Services Program is intended for individuals with a documented diagnosis of Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, or PDD-NOS.  This program services consumers between the ages of age 3-21 who live with their families or legal guardians.  Individuals with Autism are likely to have behavior challenges.   The intention of this program is to help increase the quality of life for the individual with Autism as well as the quality of life for family members.  This may be achieved by increasing opportunities for active and successful participation of the individual served in his or her home, school and community.  Such opportunities may include support during social events, family functions and setting up social groups with other peers.  Teaching formal social skills is a critical part in the success of appropriate community integration.  Increased community awareness and understanding of Autism spectrum disorders is a desired outcome of this program.  The program may also work with an individual and family to improve functional skills in the home, school and/or community settings.  To qualify for services the individual will meet some of the following criteria and is not considered to have severe behavior challenges or be in crisis at the time of enrollment.



(The client may meet some, but not all, of the following to be found eligible for this program)


  1. The individual with Autism is between the ages of 3 and 21 and lives at home with his or her family or legal guardian. 
  2. The family of the individual with Autism is in need of support and/or linkage to outside supports. 
  3. The individual with Autism is not receiving all of the services that he or she could be to assist him or her in leading a successful, meaningful life. 
  4. The Autism diagnosis thus significantly impacts his or her ability to be with same age non- disabled peers for educational and recreational purposes. 
  5. Integration of the individual with his or her non disabled peers has been restricted due to the individual’s behavior resulting from his or her diagnosis of Autism.  Thus the individual is struggling socially and/or behaviorally, limiting opportunities for meaningful activities. 
  6. The individual’s relationships with others are compromised due to his or her Autism diagnosis and require highly specialized and individual supports for improvement in the area of social skills.



The purpose of this program is to increase the quality of life for the individual with Autism and the quality of life for his or her family members.  The main focus will be to increase social opportunities in various community settings for the individual with Autism.  The program will work to accomplish community awareness and understanding of Autism spectrum disorders.


This program will work with the client and the family towards achievement of the following goals:


  1. Improving social relationships of the individual with Autism and his or her family, community and support providers by teaching families and school personnel how to achieve successful social outcomes in individuals with Autism. 
  2. Increasing the opportunities for integration of the individual with Autism, with his or her non- disabled peers at school and in the community will be made possible through the provision of extra support. 
  3. Increasing involvement and access to his or her community by providing support to allow the individual to successfully participate in recreation programs or community outings i.e. swimming, bowling, going to a restaurant, horseback riding, going out for coffee etc when previously not possible due to a lack of support. 
  4. Linking families of individuals with Autism to appropriate available community supports and increasing successful community involvement is also important. 
  5. Easing educational transitions for the individual with Autism and his or her family as the individual transitions within his or her educational placements. 
  6. Decrease risk to others or the individual with Autism if he or she engages in inappropriate behaviors through teaching appropriate behaviors and decreasing inappropriate behaviors that pose a risk to the individual (self injurious behaviors) or others (aggression) so that the individual can be successfully and actively involved in his or her community. 

Intensive Behavior Services

Avoiding unnecessary out of home placements for individuals with developmental disabilities between the ages of 3-21 in Monroe County is the overall goal of this program.  This program aims to decrease the physical and emotional challenges of family members caring for an individual with a developmental disability.  This is accomplished by conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and then developing Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP).  The BIP will decrease inappropriate behaviors while increasing functional skills.  The program monitors the implementation of the BIP and makes appropriate changes when necessary.


A long term goal of this program is to reduce stress on the family while assisting with strategies to keep the client in the home setting.  Family members will be taught and trained on how to implement the behavior plan and providing them the tools needed to be successful in doing so.  Families will be also be given education and information on available supports within the community.  This program will utilize a collaborative approach with families, schools and medical personnel to determine the most effective interventions.  The client will be included in any and all decisions regarding their care when determined appropriate by their family and their treatment team.



  1. A client must be diagnosed with a qualifying developmental disability. 
  2. The client must be between the ages of 3-21 
  3. The client and family must live inMonroeCounty 
  4. The client must be Medicaid Waiver enrolled 
  5. Individuals who live in non-certified settings or Family Care Homes who present with substantial challenging behaviors that put them at risk of imminent risk of placement into a more restrictive living environment. 
  6. Individuals will have documentation that substantiate that the individual is at imminent risk of being placed in  more restrictive living environment due to challenging behavioral episodes. 
  7. Individuals that have a clear need for this type of services provided under the Intensive Behavioral Services model and considered able to benefit from the provision of Intensive Behavioral Services.



  1. Conduct a Functional Behavioral Assessment 
  2. Develop a Behavior Intervention Plan 
  3. Train Family and Caregivers to implement Behavior Intervention Plan 
  4. Monitor effectiveness of Behavior Intervention Plan


 For more information on these services please contact any of the specialists below: