Project ImPACT

Program Details

Project ImPACT was developed by Dr. Brooke Ingersoll, a board-certified behaviour analyst and Anna Dvortcsak, a speech-language pathologist. For more information, including a list of research studies, see project-impact.org.

What can you expect?

In Project ImPACT, caregivers learn how to use ABA teaching strategies to promote their child’s communication and social engagement. Parents/caregivers work one-on-one with an experienced therapist. Together, they set goals for the outcomes they would like to see (e.g., for the child to play appropriately, to use eye contact, gestures, or words to communicate). The therapist then teaches parents the skills they need to achieve those goals with their child at home.

You and your child will work with your Project ImPACT therapist for up to 18 sessions over 6 months. Each session is one hour long.

The first 12 sessions will teach you the core Project ImPACT skills, and will be scheduled once a week.  A few examples of the skills that you will learn include:

  • How to engage your child by focusing on them, using preferred toys, and imitating their gestures and vocalizations.
  • How to use strategies like ‘playful obstruction’ and ‘communicative temptations’ to motivate your child to communicate.
  • How to teach your child to take turns in play.
  • How to prompt your child to communicate (e.g. Teaching them to use specific gestures/words/phrases).

The last 6 sessions will be scheduled every other week.  Your therapist will work with you to set goals for the last 6 sessions.  Examples of goals include:

  • Increased practice with Project ImPACT skills.
  • Generalize skills to new communication and/or social goals.
  • Specific training to address any child behaviour concerns, such as noncompliance or aggression.

How does it work?

The Project ImPACT approach is systematic and provides parents with the support they need to become effective teachers:

Parents/caregivers are supported, step-by-step, to learn new skills:

  • First, the therapist explains the new skill.
  • Then, the therapist demonstrates the new skill with your child (or using a video model).
  • Next, you will practice the skill, while the therapist provides encouragement and helpful feedback.
  • Between sessions, you will have a chance to put into practice what you’ve learned, and your therapist will discuss your progress with you at the next session.

Project ImPACT is developmentally appropriate for young children with ASD.

  • The program helps build foundational social-communication skills that are often delayed in children with ASD (e.g., joint attention and imitation).
  • Skills are taught in developmental order (we don’t learn to run before we can walk).
  • Project ImPACT includes activities at 4 levels of language development: preverbal, first words, word combinations, and sentences. Therapists will tailor the program to best meet the developmental needs of each child.

Where do sessions take place?

Families participating in Project ImPACT at Eastwood Psychologists may choose either in-person sessions at the clinic, or virtual (video) sessions from your home.

Our clinic is centrally located (in downtown Brampton) and easy to access by car from Brampton, Caledon, Halton Hills, Milton, Oakville, Bolton, Orangeville, Woodbridge and Mississauga.  Our clinic is directly on the Brampton Rapid Transit line, with a stop right outside our door.

Please let us know if there are barriers that would make it hard for you to attend sessions at our clinic.  We offer flexible appointment times, and we can also accommodate additional family members (e.g., siblings) if needed. Please let us know your needs, so we can work together with you.

We are committed to providing the safest possible treatment environment.  In addition to following all public health guidelines, we:

  • Disinfect high touch surfaces and play materials between each session.
  • Improve air quality by running HEPA air filters.
  • Require that staff do not report to work if they have any symptom of illness.

Important considerations about in-person vs. virtual service delivery:

  • In-person therapy allows us to demonstrate skills directly with your child.
  • Virtual therapy uses video models to demonstrate skills.
  • Availability of session days/times and therapists may vary between in-person and virtual service delivery.
  • Virtual therapy is delivered using a secure (i.e., encrypted) platform to ensure compliance with privacy laws.
  • Virtual therapy requires that you have a good internet connection and reliable computer.
  • Care must be taken to limit distractions in the home environment that could disrupt virtual sessions.
  • We can deliver virtual services to families residing anywhere in Ontario.

Our office manager will be pleased to discuss your needs to help you decide which service delivery option is best for you.