Daniel Openden, Ph.D., BCBA-D is President and CEO of the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) in Phoenix, Arizona. SARRC is an internationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to autism research, education, evidence-based treatment, and community outreach to support individuals with autism and their families throughout their lifetimes. The 18,000-square-foot Campus for Exceptional Children and 10,000-square-foot Sander’s Center for Autism Studies co-located with SARRC’s Vocational & Life Skills Academy are state-of-the-art clinical centers that serve as models for similar research and resource facilities.
In 2007, Dr. Openden was recruited to SARRC from the renowned Koegel Autism Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara to serve as SARRC’s Vice President and Clinical Services Director. Since joining SARRC, Dr. Openden has advanced the center’s clinical programs and services, including an inclusive preschool, a comprehensive home-based program, a parent training program for families living in rural/remote areas, and school consultation. In 2009, Dr. Openden and Dr. Christopher J. Smith, SARRC’s VP & Research Director, received funding to initiate and research SARRC’s Remote Telemedicine Program to provide follow up access to services via the internet for families living outside Maricopa County. In 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) identified SARRC’s innovative, cutting edge inclusive preschool among the most promising practices in autism services to influence the development of effective care systems in other states.
Dr. Openden is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst—Doctoral (BCBA-D) and is licensed as a behaviour analyst in Arizona. He has expertise in developing training programs for teaching parents and professionals to implement Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), a comprehensive, evidence- based treatment model for children with ASD. Dr. Openden has worked extensively with families with children, adolescents and adults with ASD; provided consulting and training for school districts across the country; presented research at regional, state, national and international conventions; served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Positive Behaviour Interventions (JPBI) from 2008-2013; and been published in several peer reviewed journals and book chapters in the field.
Dr. Openden is also an adjunct professor at Arizona State University (ASU) and serves on the Autism Speaks Family Services Committee; Scientific Council of the Organization for Autism Research (OAR); Arizona State University President’s Advisory Community Council; Feeding Matters Medical Professional Council; and the Arizona Autism Coalition Advisory Committee. Further, he is a founding member of the Council on Autism Services (CAS), a networking organization that brings together Presidents, CEOs, Executive Directors, Clinical Directors, and Program Directors to share high level information and identify gaps facing autism service delivery organizations. In 2011, Dr. Openden was honored as one of the Phoenix Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” up-and-coming community leaders.
Dr. Openden graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s and Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in special education, disability and risk studies.