START Overview

The Center for START Services

The Center for START Services,  is a program of the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability/University Center for Excellence in Disabily established in 2009 to respond to a nationwide demand to develop START services and provide technical support, education, and guidelines to ensure model fidelity.

The START Model

The START (model serves people diagnosed with intellectual/developmental disabilities and co-occurring behavioral health conditions. START, which stands for Systemic, Therapeutic, Assessment, Resources, and Treatment, is a comprehensive model of service supports that optimizes independence, treatment, and community living for individuals with IDD and behavioral health needs. It promotes person-centered approaches and training for individuals, families, and caregivers by applying core principles of positive psychology, utilization of therapeutic tools, provision of multi-modal clinical assessments, promoting enjoyable therapeutic recreational experiences, and optimal utilization of existing resources through:

  • Linkages with partners;

  • Engagement of service user, family, and other circles of support involvement;

  • Promotion of improved expertise across systems of care; and

  • The utilization of services designed to fill gaps

START has been providing person-centered clinical services and therapeutic emergency and planned services since 1988 when it was founded by Joan Beasley, Ph.D. in Northeast Massachusetts.