History

Project P.A.C.E., Inc (PACE) was founded in 1992 by Kathi Calouri, Ph.D., and Eric Hamblen, a husband and wife team, who have each spent over 25 years working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families in clinical settings, research sites, family homes, outdoor programs, public and private schools. Steve Ryan, M.A., C.C.C., is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist who has worked with children with autism and their families for over 17 years and has been with PACE since 1999.

Dr. Calouri earned her Ph.D. from UCLA where she supervised the Clinic for the Behavior Treatment of Children under the supervision of Dr. Ivar Lovaas. Eric Hamblen also worked with Dr. Lovaas. With this experience, PACE provided ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders for the first ten years of its existence. Kathi and Eric became parents in 1996 and again in 1998. Despite their training in child development, there is no education like hands-on experience. The birth of their children profoundly influenced their thinking and discovery of children, with specific interest in the social-emotional development of children. The inclusion of RDITM (Relationship Development Intervention) into the PACE model was a natural addition. Eric Hamblen was supervised in his certification in RDITM by Dr. Steve Gutstein. Steve Ryan was supervised in his certification in RDITM by Dr. Rachelle Sheely. Kathi Calouri received her training in RDITM from Dr. Rachelle Sheely. The principles of relationship building learned through RDITM further expanded the professional skills of the PACE staff, providing them with new, powerful tools to use in their work with children and families.

In keeping with the tradition of providing cutting edge services, PACE Place was founded in 2004. Countless hours of hard work and community support were spent to make PACE Place a state of the art environment for families. The unique PACE Place Immersion Model provides families with the opportunity to immerse themselves in a rewarding and growth-enhancing lifestyle by addressing family goals with professional guidance. The immediate success of PACE Place confirmed the efficacy of the immersion model.

The PACE Place Immersion Model inspired the professional staff beyond measure. Guiding families within a home environment and within the community, focusing on “real life,” helped them hone their skills and discover their potential as professionals. This unique setting allowed them to develop strategies that empower parents. The PACE professionals are no longer solely in clinical settings, removed from the real challenges families face. They now have experience sitting with families in restaurants, struggling with kids in the barber’s chair, and facing tantrums at the zoo. They are now more fully “in the trenches” with families. The professional wisdom gained from PACE Place has been invaluable; they now guide families with increased compassion and real life experience. Their years of discovery have led them to firm ground. They pride themselves on their ability to partner with parents to discover the child’s developmental potential.