Autism Center of Excellence

Touchstone’s Autism Center of Excellence is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with or at risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families. Our commitment is demonstrated through the provision of evidence-based services, educating families, service providers, and community partners on ASD and related topics, and collaborating with community partners to ensure the best behavioral and physical healthcare for our Members. Touchstone’s Autism Center of Excellence utilizes a whole-person approach to promote independence for our Members and their families. As part of this approach, the Member’s behavioral and physical healthcare needs, as well as the wellness of the family system, are evaluated in order to identify the most appropriate services. Services provided inside the Autism Center of Excellence are family-focused and grounded in the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Families are connected to community-based resources including organizations that offer free parent education, advocacy and support groups, and socialization opportunities for parents and children throughout their treatment.


The Autism Center of Excellence will be split into four parts all working simultaneously together. These programs include our current Family-Centered Autism Program, ACE Connections, Complex Behavior, and the Language and Learning Center.

The Family-Centered Autism Program (FCAP) has been a part of Touchstone’s programs and services since 2009. FCAP provides integrated and comprehensive treatment services, in the natural environment, to children, and their families affected by ASD and other developmental disabilities. The goal of FCAP is to improve the lives of both children with autism and their family members. This goal will now be achieved by focusing on functional skills with the use of Functional Family Therapy, an evidence-based model designed to work with children and their families with acting out behaviors. FFT is an intensive, in-home, evidence-based family therapy program that is effective in treating youth who demonstrate maladaptive and acting out behaviors. At its core, FCAP Therapists, using FFT, will focus on assessment and intervention to address risk and protective factors within and outside of the family that impacts the adolescent and his or her adaptive development. A strong relational, cognitive, and behavioral component is integrated into systematic skill training in several areas such as family communication, parenting, and conflict management skills. The program is designed to work with youth who are in a home setting with at least one identified caregiver. Service delivery takes place primarily in the home or community. Treatment average is 3 to 5 months (a minimum of 1x per week). Serves youth ages 11-17.5. FFT is a Blueprints Model Program.

ACE Connections is a spectrum service built to meet the needs of members currently enrolled in the Autism Center of Excellence. ACE Connections provides services to individuals as a step down from the comprehensive or focused ABA programs, a pre-intervention for the comprehensive or focused ABA programs, or as the perfect fit given the individualized needs of the member.

The Complex Behavior Program, Focused ABA, provides support to families and members who engage in challenging behavior that poses an imminent risk of serious harm to themselves and others. Our clinician’s use the science of Behavior Analysis to inform their assessment and treatment practices. When an individual is referred to the Complex Behavior Program, a team lead by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) conducts a functional behavior assessment (FBA) to determine why the behavior occurs. A treatment plan is created to decrease the problem behavior and teach an appropriate replacement skill. The team then implements the plan and trains parents and other caregivers to use the plan. The member is discharged once the behavior is stabilized.

The Language & Learning Center (LLC) provides comprehensive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy (30-40 hours a week) to members from 0-18 years old. ABA therapy is a child-centered, strengths-based treatment with the goal to help members achieve their highest potential. Through a comprehensive assessment coordinated by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®), a member’s strengths and deficits are identified across developmental domains. Skills targeted include communication, pre-academic (learning to learn) skills, social skills, self-care skills, and play skills. Challenging behavior may also address as part of comprehensive ABA therapy. A plan for addressing the member’s needs as outlined in the assessment is created and implemented in center, home, or community settings. Therapy includes parents/caregivers, and, when appropriate, siblings to produce the best outcomes.

Touchstone’s Autism Center of Excellence

Phoenix Campus North
15820 N 35th Avenue Ste 14
Phoenix, AZ 85053.

All of our centers are integrated in order to provide any and all services from all of our locations and within the community.