Residential Treatment—Developmental Abilities Services

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Hillside’s Developmental Abilities Services (DAS) are designed to meet the needs of youth with cognitive limitations, a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, behavior challenges and mental health concerns. The program is designed to help youth develop the skills necessary to move to a lower level of care and/or to be assessed and referred for continuing services. The DAS Transitional Program (DAS TP) is designed for youth who have shown a decrease in their presenting challenging behaviors and demonstrate that their needs can be met in this less staff-intensive program.

About this Program

Developmental Abilities Services
DAS supports individuals who have cognitive limitations, exhibit behavior challenges and who have mental health concerns. This program represents the highest level of care in the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) system for this population.

The trauma-informed, relationship-based program is highly structured to meet each youth’s individualized needs. Treatment includes individualized assessment and treatment for challenging behavior when appropriate, as well as emphases on building coping skills that allow the development of pro-social skills that can replace challenging behaviors. The DAS team consists of the youth and their family, their clinician, a certified/licensed behavior analyst, certified recreation therapist, a case manager, a permanency specialist, a family advocate, teacher, cottage staff and consulting psychologist. There is a strong psychiatric and nursing presence for medication monitoring, evaluating medication and behavior interactions, and mental health intervention.

Consistent with its foundation in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), DAS uses a therapeutic approach that focuses on the system in which the resident functions, is trauma sensitive, and views therapy as a learning process, including acquiring and practicing new skills, learning new ways of thinking, and acquiring more effective ways of coping with problems. Unconditional acceptance of each resident is promoted, as is working to identify personal, family, and system strengths and using these strengths to accomplish treatment goals while working to systematically generalize treatment gains to the youth’s family and other important people in their lives. The program uses evidence-based interventions and is based on the resident’s developmental level, cognitive level, support needs, and mental health diagnosis in planning for how services are provided.

DAS staff’s relationships with residents are critically important. Clinicians work to accurately understand each resident and establish an authentic relationship based on empathy, trust, respect, and genuineness. DAS clinicians work to provide services that are ethical, individually based and culturally competent. Clinicians also work to generalize these relationship skills to the staff in the resident’s living environment to ensure a safe, secure, and effective milieu environment. Behavior Analysts support staff in using data and evidence-based interventions to provide individualized treatment across all settings.

Developmental Abilities Services—Transitional Program
DAS-TP serves youth who have shown a decrease in their presenting challenging behaviors and demonstrate that their needs can be met in this less staff-intensive program. The program provides developmentally appropriate, evidence based clinical and treatment milieu services in a culturally competent and safe environment in order to further develop independent living and social skills and continue to improve adaptive behavior. Youth are provided with a structured program with individualized behavior plans, when appropriate, that emphasize continued development of communication and other skills to replace challenging behavior, building coping skills and the development of pro-social skills. Youth are given the opportunity to enhance their independent and vocational skills within the community, while continuing to receive mental health treatment related to their individual needs. Staff help facilitate employment opportunities within the campus and the community. Youth have the opportunity to integrate with other programs on the campus as appropriate, including participation in campus sports teams that compete within the community. Psychiatric and nursing services are provided for medication monitoring and mental health intervention. Consultation with the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) will occur if needed to ensure the most effective and appropriate treatment.

The treatment team consists of the youth and their family, their clinician, a certified/licensed behavior analyst, certified Recreation Therapist, a case manager, teacher, cottage staff and consulting psychologist. Psychiatric and nursing services are provided for medication monitoring and mental health intervention.

Youth served in the program will have varying lengths of stay based on individual need. The service is not intended to be a long-term placement but a continuum to develop the skills necessary to move to a lower level of care.

Based on the needs of youth and the treatment planning process, there is a focus on using evidence-based practices including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. A treatment focus is grounded in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based approach to increasing desirable behaviors and decreasing challenging behaviors.

Provided in Both DAS Programs
Education Services
—Students participating in the therapeutic education program will attend a 6-1-2 classroom setting at the Campus School, and are educated with peers who have similar educational, emotional, and instructional needs. The students will receive special education services mandated in their Individual Education Plan as determined by the Committee on Special Education. Students will receive school services provided by certified special education teachers, teaching assistants, and content area teachers as well as other qualified staff. Students will also participate in NYSED required special subject areas such as physical education and the arts. Special Education services may include occupational therapy and speech/language therapy as indicated on the student’s IEP. In addition, students have access to guidance counseling and a school psychologist for testing and educational planning and recommendations. Education staff will collaborate with students’ home school districts throughout placement and in preparation for discharge. Collaboration around behavioral needs (e.g., functional assessment and intervention planning) is an important component of DAS and DAS TP.

Emotional and physical safety of the students will be a high priority for the behavioral and education members of the team. In addition, all students will have daily access to the New York State learning standards. Teachers will modify and adapt their instructional practices to align with students’ learning modalities and developmental stages.

Health Care Services—Health care staff includes a full range of highly trained personnel who can attend to most medical and psychiatric needs experienced by youth in Residential Treatment. Our licensed clinical professionals include Registered Dieticians, Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses, Psychiatric and Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Pediatricians and Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists. These individuals work collaboratively with program staff to ensure high quality health care is provided; and maintain strong relationships with local hospitals and medical providers to provide higher levels of specialty medical and psychiatric care, as well as emergency care. All children in residential care will have access to health care services 24 hours a day.

Recreation Services—While at Hillside, youth will be offered a wide variety of therapeutic recreation activities. Each program on campus has a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist assigned to ensure that youth are involved in and help plan out activities that foster creativity, socialization, physical activity, and personal growth. Therapeutic Recreation Specialists work within the entire program team in order to determine and achieve each youth’s individual goals. Recreation programs are consistently run throughout campus, making use of all or our facilities, as well as throughout the community.

Children and Residential Experience (CARE)—Hillside’s residential programs follow the CARE model, which is rooted in the theory that children change, grow and develop through meaningful relationships. Fundamental CARE principles require Hillside programs to be developmentally focused, family-involved, relationship-based, competence-centered, trauma-informed and ecologically oriented.


Youth ages 10 to 18 years (ages 18-21 considered on a case-by-case basis)

IQ: 50 and higher

The program serves New York State counties including: Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Erie, Genesee, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tomkins, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates. (We may accept referrals on a case-by-case basis from the following counties: Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, St. Lawrence, Warren and Washington. Please contact us to discuss your needs.)


Monroe Campus
1183 Monroe Avenue
Rochester NY 14620

Contact Information

For details about this or any Hillside program, contact us 24 hours a day at 585-256-7500 or info@hillside.com

This Program Supported by program fees, and by the NYS Office of Child and Family Services, the NYS Education Department, local school districts and local counties.

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