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Autism Services


Services for ITU Students with Autism

Hillcrest Educational Centers offers highly specialized residential treatment services for children and adolescents who are non-verbal or diagnosed with more severe forms of Autism. With Hillcrest Educational Centers Intensive Treatment Unit’s high staffing ratios, the program provides a safe, caring, and highly structured environment. The ITU applies the field’s most effective techniques for instruction and intervention, including ABA, visual schedules and social scripts. Hillcrest EC utilizes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based practice that has proven to have a positive effect on the lives of people with severe forms of Autism. Using ABA, Hillcrest Educational Centers highly trained staff provides individualized instruction that is integrated throughout the school and residential program. This instruction will help students learn new skills in a variety of domains including, but not limited to, education, social, self-care, communication, and life skills. All ABA programming is overseen by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.


Our expert teachers and staff are
fully trained using NECC standards
Hillcrest Educational Centers utilizes the Autism
Curriculum Encyclopedia (ACE) in providing services
to children with autism. The ACE is a comprehensive
electronic curriculum and teacher training program
created by the New England Center for Children (NECC).
NECC is an internationally renowned educational
and research center providing services to children
with Autism. In addition to utilizing the ACE,
Hillcrest has also retained NECC to provide program
consultation and staff training and development.



Brookside Intensive Treatment Unit

The Brookside Intensive Treatment Unit (BITU) is an acute-care treatment program that provides non-medical crisis stabilization and hospital diversion services and comprehensive diagnostic assessment services. Each student referred to the  BITU has a unique situation and a unique combination of needs requiring an individualized approach and service plan focused on replacing negative histories and patterns of failure with success and achievement. Hillcrest is committed to learning what works for students so that the student’s continued progress, stability and permanency are fully supported.

The Brookside Intensive Treatment Unit is located in Great Barrington, MA. The campus is a large facility with access to a variety of new and more normalized resources and services, with expanded availability of specialized psychiatric, psychological and rehabilitative services. These include:
  • A full array of educational and recreational resources.
  • A separate and spacious school building, with a library, a Consumer Science classroom, and a computer/technology lab.
  • Special academic teachers (e.g., art, music, health & physical education)
  • A full sized and equipped gymnasium and outdoor recreational playing fields.
  • An Adventure Based Counseling adventure/ropes course.
  • Access, as appropriate, to a wide variety of educational, recreational and cultural facilities and resources in the Berkshire region.
Essential components of care and treatment at the ITU:
With one-to-one staffing readily available, the ITU ensures a safe, intensive, highly structured treatment program.
  • With the provision of specialized psychiatric, psychological and rehabilitative services, the ITU offers a proven alternative to hospitalization for behavior and medication stabilization and full diagnostic services, at a significantly lower cost.
  • Provision of individual and group therapy, including groups focused on high-risk behaviors such as firesetting, self-harm and sexual decision-making.
  • The elements of care and treatment at the ITU include:
  1. The use of applicable evidence-based practices and treatment modalities.
  2. Trauma-informed care and treatment (Ricky Greenwald, PsyD., The Trauma Institute and  The Child Trauma Institute)
  3. Collaborative Problem Solving model (Ross Greene, PhD, The Collaborative Problem Solving Institute, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital)
  4. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (based on the work ofMarsha Linehan, PhD, The Behavioral Research & Therapy Clinics, University of Washington)
  5. A long-term treatment alternative for children with extensive histories of placement failure is available in addition to briefer lengths of stay.
  6. 75% of the bedrooms are singles
  7. Handicapped accessible bathroom facilities