Providing Lifelong

Services to People

with Autism

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Spring Sensations
May 6th, 2017

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PCDI Mission Statement

The mission of the Princeton Child Development Institute is to provide effective, science-based intervention for children and adults with autism and, through research and dissemination, to extend treatment resources to people with autism, both nationally and internationally.

Press Releases



PCDI presents an original documentary





See film trailer on homepage:


Film brings to light the Journey of Autism


Friday, October 23, 2015

6:30 p.m.


Friend Center, Princeton University

Corner of William and Olden Street in Princeton, NJ




The Princeton Child Development Institute invites the public to the premiere of the documentary “Adults with Autism: The Journey Home” on Friday, October 23, 2015, at 6:30 pm at the Friend Center, Princeton University.  The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended: call 609-924-6280.


“Adults with Autism” is an original documentary feature film shot in and around Central and northern New Jersey as well as in Bucks County, PA. It is one of the first films to address older individuals with autism.


The film traces the journeys of four youngsters with autism—and their families—from early childhood to maturity. It highlights the difficulty of diagnosis, the importance of early intervention and treatment, and the hazards of finding appropriate treatment for young adults who have “aged out of the system.”


Autism is characterized by severe delays in language and social skills and is often accompanied by aggression, self-injury, property destruction, tantrums, and repetitive stereotypic behavior.  These challenges not only affect the ability to attend to school instruction, but also behavior at home and in the community.  Parents of children with autism are under significant stress and isolation. 


In the past year the media has begun to examine the lack of services for adults with autism (e.g., NBC’s “On the Brink” April 12, 2015, and New York Times “Adult, Autistic and Ignored” September 5, 2015).  This documentary fills a void by demonstrating the positive outcomes that are possible when children with autism receive intervention that prepares them for productive lives as adults.


Executive producers of the film are Pamela and Roland Machold of Princeton. Pamela and her mother Peggy Pulleyn of Oldwick, NJ, founded the Princeton Child Development Institute (PCDI) in 1970 when they were unable to find appropriate services for Pamela’s five-year old son. Since then, PCDI has earned international recognition as one of the leading research and treatment centers for individuals with autism. The documentary was produced through the generous support of the Teagle Foundation, Sam and Casey Lambert, and Pamela and Roland Machold.  You may view a trailer of the documentary on PCDI’s website (  Seats are limited.  Make reservations by calling PCDI at 609-924-6280.


FOR RELEASE: April 2, 2015






[Photo 1 – Senator Sweeney with a student and PCDI teacher]


TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney on Thursday, April 2,  visited the Princeton Child Development Institute (PCDI) to recognize the value of the work done by the Institute and other groups in support of those with autism spectrum disorders and their families. Senator Sweeney was joined by Senator Shirley Turner, Assemblywoman Liz Muoio, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, Princeton Councilwoman Heather Howard, and members of Autism New Jersey, a statewide advocacy group, to help mark April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day.

“The work accomplished by the Princeton Child Development Institute is valuable to all the families with loved ones with developmental disabilities, including autism,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem). “As a father of a child who greatly benefited from special education services that meet the needs of a developmental disability I know the value of the programs and the educators who dedicate their lives to children with special needs. It is important that we recognize their work, and that we keep pushing to ensure everyone, whatever their abilities, can become a thriving member of society.”

On March 16, the New Jersey Senate approved unanimously a resolution sponsored by Senate President Sweeney designating April 2nd of each year as “World Autism Day.”

“Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability, and doctors haven’t found a cure for it yet,” said Senator Turner (D-Mercer). “That is why it is essential to raise awareness of autism among doctors and in our communities, so that health care providers, family members, and educators can work together to better mitigate the negative effects of the impaired social interaction, communication and behavior characteristics of the disorder.”


“World Autism Day is a time to recognize the advancements that have been made in treating autism and the challenges that still exist. Thanks to early intervention services and programs like those offered at the Princeton Child Development Institute, great strides have been made to tackle the unique way autism affects each and every person. I’m confident that, working together, we can continue to raise awareness, help improve outcomes and give families greater peace of mind,” said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon).


“World Autism Day is a great time to pause and recognize the many achievements of those with autism and the societal advancements that have helped boost their quality of life. There is wonderful work being done by organizations here in Mercer County and in the 15th legislative district, but I know there is much more we can do to boost services to individuals with autism and their families. I’m proud to join with my colleagues and the Princeton Child Development Institute to reaffirm our commitment to helping those with autism,” added Assemblywoman Liz Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon).


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a brain disorder characterized by difficulties in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction, and learning everyday skills. 

“We are glad to work with Senate President Sweeney on autism awareness and efforts to advance access to effective treatment,” said Dr. Suzanne Buchanan, Executive Director of Autism New Jersey. “A greater understanding of autism and comprehensive implementation of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) methods used here at PCDI and throughout the State will lead to measurable improvements in individuals’ abilities and quality of life. Senator Sweeney’s visit today is only one example of his commitment to lead advocacy efforts in Trenton for all New Jersey citizens with special needs.”


PCDI Executive Director Dr. Gregory MacDuff was honored to host the event and stated, “PCDI continues to provide science-based intervention for people with autism across the life span.  Youngsters learn to talk and play with friends, and to read, write and spell.  Adolescents complete relevant academic tasks but also acquire pre-vocational and home- and community-living skills that promote their full participation with their families and home communities, and we assist adults in acquiring appropriate job placement and provide instruction regarding the acquisition of relevant life skills. Our success in providing this level of intervention is directly related to support provided by Senator Sweeney and we are grateful that he has continued to advocate for people with autism and all developmental disabilities.”


2015 NJ State Teacher of the Year and Lead Teacher in the Hoboken ABA program Mark Mautone stated, “I am thrilled to be part of an event that recognizes the importance of providing high-quality ABA services in public schools as they serve a large portion of students with ASD.  I am honored to take part in such an important day alongside PCDI, Autism New Jersey, and Senate President Sweeney as we all share a common vision of providing children with ASD effective educational opportunities.”


PCDI, founded in 1970, is a private, non-profit program offering a broad spectrum of science-based services to children, youths, and adults with autism. The Institute provides quality treatment, education, and professional training and mentoring in New Jersey, and through its research, has pioneered comprehensive intervention models that are used nationally and internationally for the benefit of persons with autism. PCDI shares its pioneering programs, technology, and research with professionals in the US and abroad so that all people who struggle with autism may benefit.


Senate President Sweeney has also introduced legislation authorizing the establishment of tax-exempt accounts for persons with developmental disabilities. The bill was approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on March 9th and now goes to the Senate Budget Committee.                                                   


[Photos attached: 2 – from left to right: Debbie Charrette, Autism NJ Public Policy Director, Suzanne Buchanan, Autism NJ ED; David Miller, parent; Senator Sweeney;
Pam Machold, Founding Parent; Marianne Lynch, Parent; Senator Turner; Assemblywoman Muoio; Patti Gianone, parent; Derek Gianone, student; Matt Gianone, parent; Assemblyman Gusciora; Roland Machold, parent; Councilwoman Heather Howard; Mayor Liz Lempert; Mark Mautone, 2014-2015 NJ Teacher of the Year; Gregory S. MacDuff, Ph.D., BCBA-D, PCDI.] 

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno Visits Princeton Child Development Institute             Recognizing Community Providers during Autism Awareness Month


Princeton, NJ (April 29, 2014) – Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno visited the Princeton Child Development Institute on Monday in recognition of Autism Awareness Month. The Christie Administration has made addressing the needs of the autism community a foremost priority.

“I applaud the extraordinary efforts of the Princeton Child Development Institute to provide intervention services to individuals with autism and their families,” said Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. “Their innovative approach is critical to ensuring that effective, life-changing treatment is provided as soon as possible, thereby allowing those in their care to reach their potential and lead richer, fuller lives. I am proud to highlight the vital work being done here and at other community-based intervention organizations statewide during Autism Awareness Month, and praise their ongoing commitment to addressing most important and pressing issue.”


Founded in 1970, the Princeton Child Development Institute was the first community-based intervention and research program in New Jersey for individuals with autism is renowned for its expertise in providing individualized, effective, science-based autism intervention. PCDI opened the first community-based, family-style group home that continues to serve as a model for similar programs elsewhere.  In addition, PCDI developed a Life-Skills program to help adults with autism maintain jobs and participate in community living. 

As awareness of this devastating disability grows, young children are being diagnosed earlier. Research shows that early behavioral intervention provides the best possible chance for them to overcome the challenges of autism and achieve remarkable and lasting results.

PCDI began an Early Intervention program in 1997 and is widely recognized as a leader in developing groundbreaking early intervention strategies for children with autism. PCDI is one of a handful of research and treatment organizations to report that, of children who enter treatment before age five, nearly 50% later make successful transitions to regular classes in public or private schools. A growing body of evidence indicates that children may benefit even more if they receive intervention before age three. These successes emphasize the critical role of early intervention in helping children with diagnoses of autism lead normal and productive lives in their families and communities

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report showing 1 in 68 children nationally has an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  This newest estimate is based on the CDC’s evaluation of health and educational records of all 8-year-old children in 2010 in 11 states, including New Jersey.  New Jersey has the highest rate, occurring 1 of 45 births, and 1 in 28 for boys. The national rate marks an increase of 30% from the previous 1 in 88 statistic.

Governor Christie’s 2015 budget proposes $135 million for the Department of Health’s Early Intervention System, a critical resource for providing timely identification, evaluation and intervention services. New Jersey is one of only four states with an Autism Registry that requires reporting by neurologists, pediatricians, nurses and other autism providers so children can be referred for resources and services.



Special Education Teacher Returns to PCDI Residency Program to Continue Study of Autism


[Princeton, NJ, September 26, 2012] – Gokhan Ince, a special education teacher in Istanbul Turkey, first visited Princeton Child Development Institute (PCDI) in 2009 to receive training in applied behavior analysis. As the coordinator of the clinical program at Tohum (The Foundation for Early Diagnosis and Education of Autism in Turkey), his residency at PCDI this year will focus on learning to train, supervise, and evaluate teaching staff. Gokhan Ince holds a masters degree from Anadolu University and values Tohum’s relationship with PCDI saying, “I feel strongly that training here will broaden my perspective and improve my skills by learning the techniques developed at PCDI.  Tohum is a pioneer in autism training in Turkey and we are working hard to catch up to PCDI’s reputation as one of the leading programs for the treatment of autism in the U.S. We are seeing positive results every year since our relationship with PCDI began”.


Gregory S. MacDuff, Ph.D., Co-Executive Director of PCDI said, “Because autism knows no national or cultural boundaries, PCDI shares its pioneering programs, technology, and research with professionals in the US and abroad so that more people affected by autism may benefit”.


Mine Narin Verdi and Aylinn Sezgin founded TOHUM, The Foundation for Early Diagnosis and Education of Autism in Turkey in 2003. They searched throughout Europe and the US for an autism intervention model that

could be emulated in Istanbul.  The search lead to PCDI; one of the leading applied behavior analysis programs in the United States. To learn more, visit


Dr. Binyamin Birkan, the Executive Director of Tohum, completed a 12-month residency at PCDI before opening the Tohum Autism Foundation Special Needs School in 2008. One of the missions of Tohum is to disseminate autism intervention programs learned at PCDI to other teachers in Turkey. The Tohum clinical program strives to reach the widest possible group of teachers and help as many individuals with autism as possible by adopting PCDI’s intervention model.  Few training programs for special education exist in Turkey making the opportunity to study at PCDI all the more beneficial to Dr. Birkan and his staff.


“PCDI is deeply committed to sharing its research and intervention strategies with other agencies and professionals.” Mac Duff added, “In addition to student internships and residencies, the Institute supports the development of new programs both here and abroad. Besides Tohum, PCDI has provided training to professionals from Spain, Germany, South Korea, Greece, Russia, Norway, Poland, and Australia”.   In the United States, Princeton Child Development Institute dissemination sites include The Institute for Educational Achievement (IEA) in New Milford, NJ, Somerset Hills Learning Institute (SHLI) in Bedminster, NJ, and The New York Child Learning Institute (NYCLI) in College Point, NY.


Toys”R”Us, Inc. Launches Autism Awareness and Fundraising Campaign

Toys”R”Us, Inc. launched its annual in-store fundraising campaign to benefit Autism Speaks, North America”s largest autism science and advocacy organization. Through April 30, monetary donations will be collected at all Toys”R”Us® and Babies”R”Us® stores and online at The company is also increasing its focus on autism awareness, unveiling a new theme, “Shine A Light For Autism.” The campaign incorporates aspects of Autism Speaks” “Light It Up Blue” initiative, in which prominent buildings around the world are lighted blue to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. The Toys”R”Us campaign offers fun, simple ideas to help people “go blue” to demonstrate their concern for a disorder that impacts countless children and families “ with a special initiative launching at on March 26. In addition, those who donate $10 or more to Autism Speaks at any Toys”R”Us or Babies”R”Us store will receive a reusable shopping bag designed by James Hogarth, a talented artist with autism, while supplies last. Since the Toys”R”Us partnership began six years ago, the company has helped contribute more than $12 million to Autism Speaks.


Princeton Child Development Institute honors community partners at annual 

Spring Sensations Gala


On May 5, 2012, Princeton Child Development Institute will host Spring Sensations, an annual gala to raise money to benefit individuals with autism. Three community businesses will be honored at the event this year. The disabilities associated with autism are pervasive, affecting not only school performance, but also participation in activities at home and in the community. Schafer Gymnastics, Pennington Presbyterian Nursery School, and Pennington-Ewing Athletic Club have opened their doors to PCDI learners and staff and provided opportunities for participation in recreational, educational, and vocational activities in community settings. PCDI is proud to celebrate these community partnerships and appreciates the businesses and professionals who have worked cooperatively with its staff to make a difference in the lives of children and adults diagnosed with autism.


Russian Visitors at PCDI


During the week of October 10th, 2011 PCDI hosted visitors from Perm, Russia.  The purpose of their visit was to learn about science-based educational models for children with autism in the United States.  Increasing educational services for children diagnosed with autism is a priority for Perm City.  Svetlana Kozyreva, director of the Perm Psychology Center, and Anna Gornova, speech therapist, spent four days at PCDI observing instructional programs in classrooms, home settings, group homes, and at supervised apartment living sites. Dissemination of information about research and intervention for individuals with autism is an important part of PCDI’s mission.


Spring Sensations Gala Raises Over $300,000 to Benefit Individuals with Autism


On May 7, 2011, Princeton Child Development Institute hosted Spring Sensations, an annual gala to raise money to benefit individuals with autism. The live and silent auctions raised over $300,000 this year. Featured auction items included trips to Tuscany, Greece, St. Croix and a Weekend for four at Mt. Airy Casino Resort.


Hun School Senior Class Donates $1150 to Princeton Child Development Institute


Jeff Kaminski and the senior class at the Hun School of Princeton recently donated $1150 to the Princeton Child Development Institute. Jeff organized a “Dress Down Day” fundraiser on April 26, 2011. Senior students sold Autism Awareness armbands and accepted donations throughout the day. Jeff is an avid golfer and was inspired by Ernie Els, a hall of fame golfer who has a child with autism. At the Hun School on of the core values is community, and so the senior class decided to support PCDI. Fran Stokes, class advisor at Hun said, “This is a very special senior class. They realize how fortunate and blessed they are and are always looking to help others.”


Dennis Reid, Ph.D., Presents at 9th Annual PCDI Conference

Professionals from PCDI and its six dissemination sites attended the 9th annual PCDI conference in May. Dennis Reid, Ph.D., BCBA from Carolina Behavior Analysis and Support Center, gave the keynote address: Evidence-Based Strategies for Promoting Enjoyment and Independence Among People with Autism. A graduate of Florida State University, Dennis is a leader in the field of applied behavior analysis.


Trout in the Classroom

This past school year Module C students participated in “Trout in the Classroom”, a science-based program sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife, and the New Jersey Chapters of Trout Unlimited. Bill Hannisch of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Treasurer/TIC Coordinator of the Ernest Schwiebert Chapter of Trout Unlimited, served as advisor/mentor to the students, who cared for a batch of brook-trout eggs from the Pequest Trout Hatchery. Students fed the eggs, cleaned the aquarium, removed spoiled eggs, and kept inventory of surviving fish. A special “chiller” aquarium and stand were obtained through a grant from Exxon Mobil Corporation. Students released the fish in a state approved stream this spring.


Casino Night Raises $20,000 for Autism

PCDI held its eighth annual Casino Night in January to raise funds for individuals with autism. Guests enjoyed a variety of table games including craps, roulette, blackjack and poker. An array of tricky tray items made for friendly competition over prizes.

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