THE CURRENT PREVALENCE OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER IS ON THE RISE. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the national average of children diagnosed with autism is 1 out of 54, an increase from 1 in 150 reported in the year 2000. In N.J., it is a staggering 1 in 32 children*. While the awareness of the individuality of autism has increased over the last decade, the difficulties for parents managing the care of their children has not decreased. As a matter of fact, the complexities of caring for children with unique needs has only gotten more and more complex.
Research in treatment for neurologically diverse individuals shows that interventions for neurodiverse children must include a multifaceted approach for the best outcomes. Early detection, along with expert and coordinated assessment and treatment across medical and behavioral services, are essential to achieve the best outcomes. Unfortunately, this is typically accomplished by the parent or caregiver coordinating and managing multiple services and service delivery systems for the care.
NeurAbilities, formerly CNNH NeuroHealth, offers an interdisciplinary approach, bringing together the experts necessary to diagnose and treat children with autism and other neurodiverse conditions including ADHD, epilepsy, developmental disabilities, Tics/Tourette’s, head injury and much more. Services are provided to individuals starting at infancy and throughout the lifespan. Children with suspected autism can receive an initial evaluation as early as 18 months.
“Typically, when concerns of an autism diagnosis exist for parents and guardians, the process to address these concerns can be daunting and stressful,” shares Kathleen Stengel, chief executive officer of NeurAbilities Healthcare. “Initially a referral must be made to a physician specialist, who may further refer to a psychologist or neuropsychologist, then referred again for treatment and therapy.” NeurAbilities removes the stress and confusion of connecting with different organizations by coordinating diagnosis and treatment within one organization.
NeurAbilities has a team of neurologists, developmental pediatricians, psychologists and Board-Certified Behavior Analysts who work together to support families in finding answers to their questions and accessing the therapeutic treatment they need, all within one organization.
The organization recognizes the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach that brings autism evaluation, diagnosis and treatment services together for improved outcomes and optimized care. “Families whose children are experiencing delays and behavioral concerns can experience a high level of stress,” comments Sandra Bean Lewis, director of marketing and community affairs. “Needing to access services from many different providers can lead to lack of coordination of care, misdiagnosis, delayed treatment opportunities and additional cost for the family. The collaboration among our autism experts and the coordination of care we provide leads to better outcomes and a better patient experience.”
For children requiring ongoing treatment for autism, NeurAbilities provides integrated Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based best practice intervention and treatment. If patients require medication to address symptoms, medical and therapeutic practitioners collaborate directly to ensure continuity in care and positive treatment approaches. The result of this coordinated inter- disciplinary approach is more targeted diagnostics and effective treatment recommendations.
To support the growing need for autism services, NeurAbilities is expanding their diagnostic and ABA services in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The organization recently opened treatment clinics in King of Prussia and Bala Cynwyd, Pa. Additional clinics are planned to open in Freehold (opening November), Cherry Hill (opening December) and Allentown, Pa. (January 2021). Diagnostic centers are located in Voorhees and Wall Township, N.J. and in King of Prussia and Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
“Time is precious for us all but more so for families seeking answers and help. No child can afford to be on a waiting list; our goal is that all children receive care they require,“ Stengel says. “The need is so great. We will be there to support these families.”
NeurAbilities provides compassionate care through every step of the way, providing hope and answers to families. Care starts from the moment patients and their families contact the center. “Our Hope Ambassador and Care Coordinators are available to welcome families to our practice, answer their questions and escort them through the intake process,” comments Lewis. “It is just the beginning of our collaborative care. Patients will experience this level of compassionate care throughout their treatment with us.”
NeurAbilities may not be able to change the prevalence of autism, but coordinated and compassionate care can improve outcomes for patients and provide peace of mind for families.
2050 Voorhees Town Center
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 7 (September 2020).
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