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Pediatric Developmental Center
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the autism treatment program

Learn how the Advocate Autism Program achieves remarkable results at a fraction of the cost of traditional therapy, but depends on charitable gifts to offset the cost of care for families who would otherwise be unable to afford it.

Our program for children with autism stresses early diagnosis, intensive treatment, and support for parents and caregivers. Utilizing our approach, children with autism face a better prognosis than ever before.

  • Diagnostic Services
  • Home and center based treatment, utilizing evidence based techniques leading to best outcomes
  • Intensive parent training
  • Social groups for children from pre-school through high school
  • Highly trained staff
    • Developmental and Behavioral Pediatricians
    • Developmental Psychologists and Certified Behavior Analysts
    • Speech and Occupational Therapists

Diagnostic Services

Accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment planning are the first steps to good outcomes for children with autism. Our specially trained, multidisciplinary team uses diagnostic procedures that provide the most reliable and valid assessment of the child with suspected autism. Dr. Valeria Nanclares, who is certified in the use of the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI-R) and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), coordinates the diagnostic team. Evaluations are available for children from early childhood through the teen years and include the following:

  • Specialized test battery administered by trained psychologists
  • Medical evaluation from developmental pediatrician
  • Consultation from speech and occupational therapists
  • Comprehensive integrated report, including diagnosis, treatment recommendations and review with the family of available treatment options

Treatment Program

The PDC has developed a unique and highly successful treatment model that focuses on helping parents learn to interact successfully with their child with autism. The center offers extensive parent training; provides therapy for the child in a variety of settings including the home and center; collaborates with the child's special education program; and adapts services to meet the unique needs of each child and their family.

Autism treatment at the PDC is based on an integration of approaches that have shown clinical efficacy in the research literature, including structured teaching approaches as well as principles of applied behavioral analysis. Therapists are highly trained and clinical work is carefully evaluated. Outcome data for children who have completed the program components show significant developmental gains in key areas of functioning.

Programs for children with attention, learning and behavior challenges

Treatment components include the following:

  • Child Psychiatry
  • Developmental Pediatrics
  • Social skills groups: "Connections Club"
    For school aged children and teens, Connections Club I, II and III provide opportunities to relate socially with peers. Young people with autistic spectrum disorders work and play together in a group setting that is facilitated by specially trained behavior therapists. Benefits include the opportunity to learn new social skills with friends in a fun environment.
  • Sibling and Family Support
    Special parent, sibling and family support groups provide emotional support and useful information about the most recent and effective treatment for autism. The sibling support program at the PDC is particularly valuable for the brothers and sisters of children with autism, who face unique and difficult challenges.

Programs for Infants and Toddlers

Treatment components include the following:

  • Medical Diagnostic Evaluations
  • Early Intensive Home Based Treatment: The PUENTES Program
    The PUENTES ("bridges" in Spanish) Program is an intensive, home based, 12 month intervention program for young children with autism (ages 3-7). The program begins with intensive parent training at the center, followed by therapy in the home three times per week, with parents actively involved in the child's treatment. Over the 12 month period, consultation with the child's school program is initiated to assure that the child is doing well in all environments. Following the PUENTES program, children move from individual treatment to social groups where they can utilize their communication and social skills with peers.
  • Center Based Treatment: The CAMINOS Program
    The CAMINOS program was developed to provide a center-based treatment option for families who cannot take advantage of home based PUENTES intervention either because they live too far away from the center or because their family cannot manage the challenging schedule of the PUENTES model. The CAMINOS Program includes the parent training component, individual therapy at the center 1-2 times per week, and consultation with the child's school.
  • Social skills groups: "Two's Company"
    The first level of group work is "Two's Company," for children ages 3-6 years (two levels). Two's Company provides a transition from the home based program into a more social setting, with an individual therapist assigned to each child to facilitate social play and communication.
  • Social skills groups: "Buddies"
    For young children ages 4-7, the Buddies social group provides a more challenging opportunity to practice early social skills. The child-therapist ratio increases and children focus on enhanced social interaction and cooperative play between the children.

Intervention for children with neuro-developmental problems

  • Pediatric Neurology
  • Speech, Occupational and Behavior therapies
    Many children with autism will need on-going periodic speech, occupational and behavior therapy services to maintain and develop skills. Our pediatric rehabilitation therapists are experienced and trained in our specialized approach to help children with autism develop and maintain skills. Behavior therapists from our behavioral psychology program are also available to help families cope with any emerging behavioral difficulties.

Additional Information

Bilingual Services
The PDC staff mirrors the diverse makeup of the communities served by the center.  The full range of services is available in Spanish-English and translators are available for a wide range of other languages

Cost
The Pediatric Developmental Center strives to provide services to every family in need regardless of ability to pay. We are aided in this effort by private grants and philanthropy, including The Feldman Endowment for Children with Special Needs and The Masonic Family Health Foundation. The center has a sliding fee scale for eligible families; Medicaid and private insurance are also accepted. Our billing coordinator is always available to assist families.

For more information on diagnosis, treatment and our specialized programs, contact the Pediatric Developmental Center at 773.296.7340.

The Advocate Autism Program relies on charitable gifts to offset the cost of care for families who would otherwise be unable to afford it. Click here to make a gift online


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