According to the CDC, in the U.S., one in 54 children is diagnosed with autism. The Washington State Department of Health estimates 8,000 to 12,000 children in Washington have some form of autism. Getting a diagnosis and accessing critical services is difficult. Families in our community often wait up to a year to access the tools, support and intervention that could greatly improve a child’s – and the entire family’s – quality of life.
More capacity, more care
The Providence Boyden Family Autism Center in Everett has seen the need to expand. Dr. Jill McDaniel, the Autism Center’s clinical manager, says, “The center is in the midst of doubling its clinical space and expanding its service capacity, thanks to our community members who gave $1.2 million to Providence General Foundation in support.”
In the diagnostic clinic, where autism specialists assess children at risk, the center will soon provide twice the team’s diagnostic capacity and reduce appointment wait times by half.
In the day treatment area, where participants ages two to just under six years old engage in applied behavioral analysis therapy, enrollment is set to expand to accommodate more children. Enrolled children attend 12 hours of therapy per week for 12 weeks. Parents also participate weekly in five hours of training and education for the duration of the program.
Dr. McDaniel says, “The 12-week program is extremely valuable for children and their families; however, long-term therapy and support needs beyond the 12-week program are hard to come by. The wait for ongoing support can be up to a year or more.”
This gap in care was the impetus for the center’s recent addition of an ongoing applied behavioral analysis therapy program. After completion of the initial 12-week program, participants now begin a year-long bridging program, which includes a parental support training component as well as care coordination to facilitate transition to a permanent therapy placement at the end of the treatment year.
Did you know?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that causes challenges with communication, social interaction and behavior. As a “spectrum disorder,” autism affects different people in different ways. No two people have the same symptoms.
Applied behavioral analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to understanding behavior. This type of therapy is widely considered to be the gold-standard treatment for children with autism and other developmental conditions. It can improve social, communication and learning skills and enhance socially important behaviors.
Boyden Family Autism Center
Pavilion for Women and Children, 900 Pacific Avenue Everett, WA 98201