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Boone Fetter Clinic at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles offers Interdisciplinary Assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorders

CONTACT:  Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

New services build on the hospital’s longstanding commitment to children with developmental disabilities

LOS ANGELES — Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has extended its assessment services for Autism Spectrum Disorders, building on the hospital’s longstanding commitment to children with developmental disabilities, establishing the Boone Fetter Clinic, which offers interdisciplinary assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorders in a healing environment of compassion and understanding, providing parents with information necessary to develop an effective, personalized plan-of-care, according to Roberta G. Williams, M.D., FACC, MACC, MAHA, vice president, Pediatrics and Academic Affairs.

The Boone Fetter Clinic at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is made possible through the generosity of the Boone Family Foundation. 

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) affect an estimated 3.4 of every 1,000 children between the ages of three and 10, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. These disorders are characterized by “…varying degrees of impairment in communication skills, social interactions and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior.” Autism Spectrum Disorders can often be detected by the age of three and in some cases as early as 18 months. 

Children with ASD demonstrate deficits in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors or interests; they do not follow the typical patterns of child development. In most cases, the problems in communication and social skills become more noticeable as the child lags further behind other children the same age. The differences in the way they react to people and other unusual behaviors become apparent, often between 12 and 36 months.

Dr. Williams said that the Boone Fetter Clinic, working in partnership with the USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities [UCEDD] and the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) Program at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, will initially offer interdisciplinary assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorders. 

She said that assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorders are delivered in a healing environment of compassion and understanding, providing parents with information necessary to develop an effective, personalized plan-of-care.

Families meet with an interdisciplinary team of experienced professionals, including developmental pediatricians, child psychologists, speech/language pathologists and pediatric occupational therapists, working to create a supportive and nurturing clinical environment and experience that is tailored to the unique needs of the individual child and family. 

The evaluation plan for children seen at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles uses state-of-the-science assessments and evaluation techniques across two or three visits to identify both the child’s developmental strengths and areas of concern. Note: Some children may need additional testing.

The diagnostic and clinical assessment at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles are interdisciplinary and includes the following services:
· Review of the child’s medical, psychosocial and developmental history;
· Physical examination;
· Psychological assessment;
· Speech and language assessment;
· Pediatric occupational therapy assessment;
· Social and behavioral observations by the interdisciplinary team

The Boone Fetter Clinic, along with the USC UCEDD and the DBP Program, is part of the CHLA-USC Institute for the Developing Mind, a bold new initiative that will provide children and families with a central source for clinical assessment, treatment and a wide range of additional resources. It will also offer innovative clinical research programs that can hold the promise of providing new treatment opportunities.

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been committed to children with developmental disabilities for more than 45 years. Originally funded in 1966, the USC UCEDD at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is a nationally recognized leader in developing and supporting quality services and systems for individuals with, or at risk for, behavioral, developmental and/or special health care needs and their families. 

The USC UCEDD is committed to full community inclusion for children with these problems; and is actively involved in the training of professionals to work in an interdisciplinary model for the care of these children and their families. Two of its many programs include the Leadership Education in Neuro-developmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) graduate training program; and the pre- and post-doctoral APA accredited psychology training program. The Mental Health program serves children with emotional and behavioral disturbances as well as at-risk children and families, including those with special health care needs, developmental disabilities and a history of child abuse or neglect.  This program works under contract with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. 

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP) Program at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is a unique subspecialty that focuses on a child’s strengths and challenges within the context of the family using a bio-psycho-social perspective, and it provides comprehensive and culturally informed clinical, teaching, and research activities. The clinical program serves children with developmental and behavioral problems, which includes autism, child abuse, prematurity, behavioral disorders and developmental disabilities. The teaching program integrates all levels of training from the pediatric intern and senior resident rotations to our ACGME-accredited Fellowship Program. Research activities encompass the areas of child abuse, obesity, high-risk infant follow up, interpersonal communication and mental health.

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has pioneers in this field, including Richard Koch, M.D., a pioneer in the development of developmental disabilities as a discipline, who was the first director of Lanterman Regional Center, one of the two regional centers that founded the California system of regional centers; and Barbara Korsch, M.D., who helped develop the field of developmental/behavioral pediatrics and was the founding president of both the Behavioral Pediatrics Society, now the Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Society, and the Ambulatory Pediatric Association, now the Academic Pediatric Association.

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is now the one of the few providers in the area that accepts insurance for comprehensive, interdisciplinary assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorders for both Medi-Cal and privately insured patients.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932. It is a national leader in pediatric research. 

Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation, and it is ranked among the Top 10 children’s hospitals in the country – and first among the 13 children’s hospitals in California – in the current magazine rankings.

Visit our website: www.ChildrensHospitalLA.org

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