ASCEND Early Childhood Autism Services

What is ASCEND?

ASCEND (Autism Services Cultivating the Exceptional and Nurturing their Development) is a specialty program of UCP of Southern Arizona that offers Early Childhood Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to children under the age of 6 who have been diagnosed with autism or are at high risk of being diagnosed with autism. The Director of the ASCEND program, Regina Maendler, MA, is an Arizona licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and will develop an individualized treatment plan designed to assist the child in acquisition, generalization and retention of skills in areas such as communication, self-help and socialization.


How does my child qualify for ASCEND?

  • Your child has been diagnosed with autism or is at high risk for being diagnosed with autism.
  • Your child has not yet reached the age of eligibility for enrollment in first grade.
  • Your child has been approved for Early Childhood Habilitation (ECH/IBT) through the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).


What happens after my child is enrolled in ASCEND services?

  • The BCBA will conduct an evaluation and develop an individualized treatment that is submitted to DDD for approval. This approval process typically takes 2-3 weeks.
  • Once the plan is approved, ASCEND will work with your family to provide and train a team of habilitation professionals to implement your child’s treatment plan.
  • Typically, plans are approved for an average of 20-30 hours of direct services per week.
  • The BCBA or an assistant will provide coaching and feedback to the ABA Providers on a regular schedule to ensure proper implementation of the treatment plan and make any necessary modifications to meet your child’s evolving needs.


For more information please contact:

Raelene Nigma, BA, Program Coordinator