Intensive Residential Treatment

Our Goal | A Day of Learning | Parent Training | Steps to Receive Services | FAQs | Forms


Our Intensive (Residential) Treatment Program uses the principle of applied behavior analysis to help children with autism and those with other developmental disabilities.

Our Goal

The ultimate goal of a stay at the Great Lakes Center is for each child to be able to return home where treatment can continue under the guidance of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).


Steps to achieving our goal:


    • Each child takes part in a comprehensive functional behavioral assessment
    • Each child participates in an intensive behavior plan written by the BCBA based on the functional assessment
    • As the child begins to attain his/her individualized goals, the intensity of the behavior plan is reduced and, if possible, medication is decreased
    • Parents and caregivers learn to help the child be successful in other environments as outlined in the parent training section below.

A Day of Learning

During typical school hours children spend time in classrooms working one-on-one or in small groups on programming selected by the BCBA from the Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia.1 The children also work with our special education teacher from the Kalamazoo Area Educational Service Agency (KRESA), participating in structured physical activity in the gym, or playing outside. When the child is ready, he/she will begin attending school through KRESA outside of the center. This will vary for each child and will be determined by the BCBA and the special education teacher.

After school hours, the children gather and socialize in the hearth rooms, common living areas, or outside. During these times, children are still practicing communication and daily living goals. These goals include, but are not limited to:


    • Cleaning their rooms
    • Washing clothes
    • Folding clothes
    • Interacting with peers
    • Engaging in hobbies

Parent Training

While the child is achieving his/her behavioral goals, parents participate in a minimum of 10 hours of parent training. This entails:


    • Learning to implement the child’s behavior plan using the same techniques and skills used by the staff at GLC
    • Practicing these skills with the child under the supervision of the GLC staff
    • Providing additional training for community living support and school staff to gain the skills required to foster the child’s continued success

Steps to Receive Services

For Parents

The Great Lakes Center (GLC) placements are primarily funded by two entities:


    1. Medicaid through the Community Mental Health (CMH) agency of the county where the child resides
    2. Department of Human Service – through the foster care system

Private insurance seldom pays for treatment. Insurance companies that have paid in the past have done so under extraordinary circumstances.


First steps to receive service at GLC:

    •  Learn about your options
      • Educate yourself on the CMH agency’s responsibilities and your recipient rights
      • Placing a child in a program like GLC’s Intensive Treatment Program is not a regular occurrence at a CMH, and your case manager may have very limited experience in the process
      • The CMH may not even be aware that placement out of the home is an option that Medicaid can fund
      • If your child currently receives CMH services, call your CMH agency
      • Talk to your case manager
      • Ask them to discuss your request with a supervisor even if they do not think this service is an option        
    • Ensure your case manager follows up with GLC directly
      • Make sure the CMH is following up with you and GLC
      • Be persistent in advocating for your child!


What is the Intensive (Residential) Treatment Program?

The Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment and Research (GLC) is a division of Residential Opportunities, Inc. The Intensive Treatment (Residential) program is licensed as a child caring institution by the State of Michigan, designed to provide intensive behavior interventions for children with significant behavioral challenges. 


Who does the Intensive Treatment Program serve?

Children diagnosed with autism and/or other developmental disabilities ages 6 to 17 years with severe behavior problems who pose a serious risk of causing harm to themselves or others. 


How long will my child stay at the center?

Our goal is for your child to move back home as soon as possible. We use each child’s advancement towards his/her individualized treatment goals as a guide in determining when a child is ready to transition home. A typical stay typically lasts between 6 to 24 months.


Will I be able to visit my child?

Yes, we encourage families to visit and partake in the treatment process. To ensure treatment consistency we discourage off-site visitations.


How will the gains made during treatment be maintained after my child leaves the GLC?

During the child’s stay at our center, our staff work with the child’s primary care providers (parents, legal guardian, and when appropriate area health personnel who will be working with the child) in acquiring the knowledge/skills associated with the child’s individualized behavior plan. This training takes place throughout the child’s stay and is a key component of treatment. Following a transition home, GLC is available to continue services on an outpatient bases to help ensure consistency and success.  


IT Intake Screening Form (PDF)