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Chanel Baumgarten

Name: Chanel Baumgarten

Qualification: BSc (Genetics and Psychology); PGCE; BEd Honors

Position: Facilitator for Els for Autism, Cape Town





Title: RETHINK FIRST / RUBI Autism Network


Problem: There are few evidence-based programmes available for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in South Africa. Web-based systematic instructional systems may help to address this gap in intervention services. The Els for Autism office at the University of Cape Town is established as a service to families with children with ASD. The Els for Autism and University of Cape Town satellite office believes that every child with ASD can learn and deserves access to effective education. We recognize that parents and caregivers can and do play an important role in educating their child and to help their child reach his or her full potential.


Projects: The Cape Town office offers two services for families, depending on their needs:


The Rethink Programme provides evidence-based treatment solutions designed for parents working with their autistic child. It leverages the power of web-based technology to provide clinical support, best-practice tools, and research-based content through the ability to collect data and link Individualized Education Program goals and behavioral plans to the platform. The programme offers guided instruction in specific behaviorally-based teaching strategies, through a sequence of 7-10-minute training modules in the form of a video-based lesson curriculum in jargon-free accessible language. This is followed by role-play and facilitator guidance of specific and appropriate lessons chosen with the family. It addresses the needs of children across developmental domains and grade levels in four main areas: core developmental skills, inclusive practices, transition planning, and behavior, with skill domains ranging from pre-academic skills, to receptive language, to employment. The program is offered for a duration of 12 months, followed by a review of where the child and family are in the process, with a possible 6-month extension.

Title: RUBI Autism Network

The RUBI Autism Network intervention is based on principles of applied behavior analysis and is designed for therapists to use with parents of children with autism spectrum disorder and co-occurring challenging behaviors, such as tantrums, noncompliance, difficulties with transitions, and aggression. A trained therapist utilizes the manual to guide the parent in applying techniques and tools to help manage the child’s challenging behaviors. The treatment includes 11 sessions (over a 6-month period), where a parent is taught a variety of behavior management strategies, and follow-up telephone booster sessions. The treatment manual is designed to be delivered individually to parents in biweekly visits. Parents are given homework assignments between sessions that focus on applying techniques to specific behaviors.