Archived | Marcus Autism Center Web Site & Info | Circa February 1998 – 2003 #NotAnAutisticAlly #BanABA

Marcus Autism Center | Not An Autistic Ally #BanABA
Screenshot of Marcus Autism Center Homepage circa February 2000. Text below.

[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]

Our Mission

Marcus Institute provides a comprehensive array of diagnostic and evaluation services and support programs to people with Developmental Disabilities and their families, as well as those who live and work with them.


Marcus Institute 
an affiliate of Kennedy Krieger Institute
at Emory University

Marcus Institute is a charitable, not-for-profit 501( C ) 3 community based center providing direct services to children and adolescents with DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES and support services for their families and people who live and work with them.

Marcus Institute had its beginnings as the Marcus Developmental Resource Center at Emory University in 1990 as a result of a generous donation to the Children’s Research Center in the Department of Pediatrics by Bernie and Billi Marcus. Through the encouragement and financial support of Marcus family, Marcus Institute has become a nationally recognized center for excellence for the provision of coordinated and comprehensive services for children and adolescents with developmental disabilities.

Since its move from the Emory campus in 1993 to a modern wholly accessible facility just three miles from the university, the Marcus Institute has provided clinical services to more than ten thousand individuals, conducted research, and provided education and training programs. These services have been provided by developmental pediatricians, psychiatrists, clinical and neuro-psychologists, neurologists, geneticists, nurses, physical, occupational and speech therapists, social workers, special educators and family support personnel.

Today, Marcus Institute, an affiliate of Kennedy Krieger Institute at Emory University, is the cornerstone of a plan to establish a national network of developmental services for children with disorders of the brain and their families. This merger was accomplished by the extraordinary gift of $45 million by Bernie and Billi Marcus to Kennedy Krieger Institute in October, 1998.

The foremost goal of this national initiative is to rally support and spearhead unified advocacy for individuals with developmental disabilities so they can experience a greater quality of life and participate as fully as possible in family, school, and community life.

Marcus Behavior Center

Marcus Behavior Center provides assessment and treatment services for a variety of severe behavior deifficulties within pediatric populations, and the center is affiliated with the world-renowned behavioral programs at Kennedy Krieger Institute, which has provided similar services to children in Maryland for more than 20 years.  Our goals are to:

  • provide the most advanced and comprehensive treatment services available for children experiencing debilitating behavior disorders
  • promote the widespread dissemination of effective treatment technologies through highly specialized training and consultation 
  • facilitate the development and refinement of effective treatments through systematic evaluation of clinical innovations

A major focus of Marcus Behavior Center is to provide highly specialized services to children with developmental disabilities who display severe destructdive behaviors (e.g., aggression, self-injury, pica, and property destruction) that pose a substantial health risk to themselves or others.  These problems occur in about 10% to 15% of children with autism or severe developmental disabilities.  For these children, Marcus Behavior Center offers:

  • comprehensive diagnostic evalutions
  • parent training
  • school consultation
  • intensive outpatient services, with 3 behavior therapists working with each child for 6 to 20 hours per week
  • intensive classroom treatment
  • intensive day treatment, which combines intensive outpatient and classroom treatment
  • consultative servies from experts within Marcus Institute (Developmental Pediatrics, Genetics, Psychiatry, Nursing, and Social Work) are available as needed.

From early in Denises’s infancy, her mother knew she was different from other children.  Denise didn’t seem to enjoy cuddling, she avoided eye contact with others, and played by herself in a highly repetitive and ritualistic manner.  She talked infrequently and only mimicked words and phrases she heard others say.  When she was 3 years old, Denise was evaluated by a developmental pediatrician and diagnosed as having autism. As difficult as it was for her parents to come to terms with this diagnosis, their stress increased dramatically when at age four Denise began repeatedly biting her hands and arms, often causing bleeding, teeth marks, and visible wounds.

Please call 404-727-9539 and speak with the Intake Coordinator.

Wayne Fisher, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Marcus Behavior Center
Marcus Institute
Associate Professor of Behavioral Biology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Dr. Fisher received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1982 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Kennedy Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine from September 1, 1986 to August 31, 1987. He is a former recipient of the Bush Leadership Award. He is an associate professor of behavioral biology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Fisher is currently on assignment in Atlanta Georgia where he serves as the Executive Director of the Marcus Behavior Center at the Marcus Institute, an affiliate of the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Prior to June of 1999, Dr. Fisher was the Executive Director of the Neurobehavioral Inpatient and Outpatient Programs and the Chief Psychologist for the Psychology Training Program at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. Fisher has co-authored over 95 research articles. He has been awarded an individual research project grant (R01) by the National Institute of Child and Human Development to examine direct and interactive effects of choice variables (e.g., reinforcement rate and quality; choice-making opportunities as reinforcement) on the functions of destructive and alternative behavior.

He has served as an associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and is currently on the editorial boards for this journal and Behavioral Interventions. He also serves on the advisory board for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies and the Maryland Autism Project. He is the vice president of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and president of the Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis.

Dr. Fisher is a psychologist with over 16 years of clinical and research experience related to the assessment and treatment of severe behavior disorders (aggression, self-injurious behavior, pica, property destruction) associated with autism and mental retardation. Dr. Fisher’s work has focused on identifying social and environmental variables that contribute to the development and maintenance of these behavior disorders. His work is based on the viewpoint that even seemingly incomprehensible aberrant behaviors may have adaptive functions that produce beneficial outcomes to the individual that displays them (increased access to preferred objects, activities, or adult attention; avoidance or termination of nonpreferred activities). Dr. Fisher’s research has shown that accurately assessing these functions can lead to a better understanding of severe behavior disorders and to more effective treatment.

Under Dr. Fisher’s direction, the Neurobehavioral Unit (NBU) at the Kennedy Krieger Institute grew from a 4-bed to a 16-bed inpatient service, with annual revenues growing from about $788,000 to over $9.9 million.

Similarly, the Neurobehavioral Outpatient Program grew 10 fold under Dr. Fisher’s direction. Dr. Fisher also added an intensive day treatment program, which provides an effective and less costly alternative to inpatient treatment for a portion of children with severe behavior disorders. In a given year, these programs provide services for approximately 200 of the most severe cases of self-injury, aggression, and property destruction in Maryland and from around the country. All together, Dr. Fisher was responsible for over 120 staff members. Dr. Fisher is currently developing a similar continuum of clinical services and research and training programs at The Marcus Institute in Atlanta.


Cathleen Piazza, Ph.D.
Program Director, Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program
Kennedy Krieger and Marcus Institutes
Chief Psychologist, Marcus Behavior Center
Training Director, Kennedy Krieger Institute, 
Department of Psychology and Marcus Behavior Center
Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences 
The Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine 
Ph.D. (1987), Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 

Dr. Piazza was trained as a school psychologist at Tulane University with a primary interest in developmental disabilities and behavior problems. The focus of her research has been to study brain-behavior relations in individuals with mental retardation and behavior problems.

This work is aimed at evaluating the potential role of biological mechanisms in the etiology and maintenance of behavior problems and integrating knowledge about biological mechanisms which influence behavior with the technology of behavioral analysis in order to better understand and treat these problems.

A major component of this work has been the clinical and scientific application of behavioral science to problems found in pediatricmedicine. Current research involves the assessment and treatment of three types of behavior problems common to children:

1) pediatric feeding problems,

2) dangerous behaviors that lead to injury and

3) pediatric sleep problems.

For example, her work in the area of pediatric feeding problems is centered around understanding the interaction between physiological and behavioral causes of feeding problems and using this information to develop treatments.

Dr. Piazza was ranked as the most published female scientist in the area of behavior analysis and therapy in the world in a recent study of research productivity.


Piazza, C. C., Fisher, W. W., Hanley, G. P., LeBlanc, L. A., Worsdell, A. S., Lindauer, S. E., & Keeney, K. M. (1998). Treatment of pica through multiple analyses of its reinforcing functions. 
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 31, 165-189.

Piazza, C. C., Fisher, W. W., & Sherer, M. (1997). 
Treatment of multiple sleep problems in children: Faded bedtime with response cost vs. bedtime scheduling. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 39, 414-418. 

Piazza, C. C., Fisher, W. W., Hagopian, L. P., Bowman, L. G., & Toole, L. (1996). 
Using a choice assessment to predict reinforcer effectiveness. 
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 29, 1-9. 

Piazza, C. C., Fisher, W. W., Hanley, G. P., Hilker, K., & Derby, K. M. (1996). 
A preliminary procedure for predicting the positive and negative effects of reinforcement-based procedures. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 29, 137-152. Freeman KA, Piazza CC. Combining stimulus fading, reinforcement, and extinction to treat the food refusal of a girl with a severe behavior disorder. J App Behav. Anal. 1998;31:691-694.

Piazza CC, Hanley GP, Fisher WW. Functional analysis and treatment of cigarette pica. J App Behav. Anal. 1996;29:437-450. 

Piazza CC, Fisher WW, Kahng SW. A descriptive study of sleep patterns in children with mental retardation and severe behavior disorders. Dev Med Child Neurol. 1996;38:335-344.

Contact Information:

Cathleen Piazza, Ph.D.
Training Director, Marcus Behavior Center
Marcus Institute
1605 Chantilly Drive
Suite 150
Atlanta, GA  30324

404-727-9400 phone
404-727-9150 fax
E-mail: or

Henry S. Roane, Ph.D.

Case Manager, The Marcus Behavior Center
The Marcus Institute
Ph.D., School Psychology (1999)
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Dr. Roane is a trained child psychologist who specializes in applied behavior analysis. His primary interests lie in the assessment and treatment of severe behavior disorders in individuals with developmental disabilities such as mental retardation and autism.

His work involves the application of stimulus preference assessments and functional analysis to determine the factors that influence the occurrence of problem behaviors such as self-injury and aggression.

Once a function is identified, behavioral treatments are designed to decrease problem behavior while increasing appropriate behavior. Following treatment development, caregivers are taught to implement the treatment across a variety of settings. He is also interested in applying the principles of behavior analysis to individuals with traumatic brain injury as well as non-developmentally disabled individuals.

Sample Publications:

Roane, H. S., Lerman, D. C., Kelley, M. E., & Van Camp, C. M. (1999). Within-session patterns of responding during functional analyses: The role of establishing operations in clarifying behavioral function. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 20, 73-89.

Vollmer, T. R., Roane, H. S., Ringdahl, J. E., & Marcus, B. A. (1999). Evaluating treatment challenges with differential reinforcement of alternative behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 32, 9-23.

Roane, H. S., Vollmer, T. R., Ringdahl, J. E., & Marcus, B. A. (1998). Evaluation of a brief stimulus preference assessment. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 31, 605-620.

Roane, H. S., Piazza, C. C., Sgro, G. M., Volkert, V. M., & Anderson, C. M. (in press). Assessment and treatment of aberrant behavior associated with Rett syndrome. Disability and Rehabilitation.

Contact information:

Henry S. Roane, Ph.D.
The Marcus Behavior Center
The Marcus Institute
1605 Chantilly Drive
Atlanta, GA 30324

Phone: 404-727-9450

Fax: 404-727-9479



The Marcus Institute serves children and adolescents of Georgia who have developmental and learning problems including, but not limited to the following conditions:

  • Autism/PDD
  • Behavior Disorders
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Developmental Delays
  • Genetic Syndromes
  • High Risk Infants
  • MR/DD
  • Nutrition
  • Spina Bifida

The Marcus Institute 
maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals including:

  • Community Resources
  • Developmental Pediatrics
  • Genetics
  • Neurobehavioral Psychology
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Special Education
  • Speech Language Pathology
  • Social Work

The Marcus Institute provides the following services:


Affiliate Programs

The Marcus Institute is committed to expanding the services and programs available to children with developmental disabilities and their families. By combining our expertise and strengthening partnerships with service providers, we are able to meet this need by improving access to appropriate clinical and educational services.

Kennedy Krieger Institute

In October 1998, the Marcus Institute merged with Baltimore-based Kennedy Krieger Institute creating the cornerstone of a plan to establish a national network of developmental services. Together, we strive for fuller integration of individuals with developmental disabilities into school and community life, better access for families to appropriate clinical and educational services, and enhanced funding for research and training.  

For more information about Kennedy Krieger Institute, please visit their website at

Emory University Department of Pediatrics  

The Marcus Institute began as the Marcus Developmental Resource Center at Emory University in 1991 as a result of a generous donation to the Children’s Research Center at Emory. Today, many of our professionals hold faculty appointments through the Emory Department of Pediatrics. In addition, we are an approved site for the Emory Pediatric Residency Program. Our affiliation with Emory affords us access to a wealth of academic and medical resources. 

For more information about Emory University Department of Pediatrics, please visit their website at

Kennedy Krieger Institute Website Content Indicates a link to the web site of our affiliate, Kennedy Krieger Institute.
Contact   © 2003 Marcus Institute

More With Marcus Autism Center


Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

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