Regional Intervention Program (RIP) Looks Back on Decades of Work in Memphis

News Release


December 14, 2023

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – For more than half a century, the Regional Intervention Program (RIP) has supported young children and their families in Tennessee and for nearly two decades at the University of Memphis.

The program, which started in 1969, is an early intervention course for families with children ages 2 to 6, including children with disabilities like autism who display any kind of behavior concern. RIP helps parents understand the behavioral problems their children face, in hopes that they can serve as primary therapists for their own children while at home. This is accomplished through a consistent course schedule and peer support from families experiencing similar journeys, like veteran RIP families walking newly enrolled parents through the process.

Families actively participate in the program for two-hour sessions twice a week, and it can take anywhere from 6-9 months to complete. Each year, around five to ten families graduate, with parents more equipped than ever to work with their child or children during this crucial time of early development. RIP’s Program Director is Jennifer Davis, who is also a RIP graduate.

“There are many resources available to help children but not as many to support parents,” she said. “RIP’s unique program gives parents strategies that can be immediately put into practice, and parents become a part of a community where they no longer have to feel alone. The most rewarding part of helping families at RIP is watching them realize how much impact they can have as a parent and seeing them grow in confidence. As a former parent mentioned, ‘Life is not perfect, but it is so much more manageable.’”

Dr. Laura Casey, a professor at the University of Memphis, is the principal investigator (PI) of the grants that support RIP. She is a leading figure in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and early childhood.

“RIP is a hidden gem on the UofM campus that helps families in their parenting journey,” said Casey.

RIP is funded through the Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, which makes the program available to parents at no cost. Of the 9 RIP programs in the state, Memphis is the only one in West Tennessee. RIP is under the Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership at University of Memphis’s College of Education. It’s housed at UofM’s Park Avenue Campus within Building 48 at 4111 B St. but has plans to relocate to another building in Spring of 2024.

Families who may be interested in enrolling in the program or referring someone to do the same, click here for more information.