Officials from the New York Presbyterian Hospital are hopeful that their new Center for Autism and Developing the brain in White Plains will hasten the process from diagnosis to the treatment of those diagnosed with autism.
“For families, learning that their child or loved one has been given a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder can be overwhelming, and they often don’t know where to turn for help,” Dr. Steven J. Corwin, chief executive officer of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, said in a statement. “Thanks to the support and leadership of New York Collaborates for Autism, as well as Autism Speaks, the Simons Foundation, and the Mortimer D. Sackler Foundation, the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain will be an incredible resource for families and caregivers seeking comprehensive, cutting-edge, and compassionate care for their children or adult family members.”
On Monday, representatives from New York Presbyterian, Weill Cornell Medical College and the Columbia University’s College of Physicians held a dedication ceremony for the 11,000-square foot treatment center.
The year-long construction project cost about $11 million and was funded by donations.
Supporters of the autism center include New York Collaborates for Autism, a nonprofit organization focused on effecting systems change in autism service delivery; Marilyn and Jim Simons of the Simons Foundation; Autism Speaks, North America’s largest autism research and advocacy organization, which was founded by a trustee of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Bob Wright, and his wife, Suzanne; and the Mortimer D. Sackler Foundation.
“NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has made it possible to build the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain,” said Laura Slatkin, co-founder of New York Collaborates for Autism. “Our hope is to create state-of-the-art services for individuals across their lifespan that will become a model for the nation.”
Autism spectrum disorder is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data that upped the number for children with autism from one in 110, to one out of 88. According to The Huffington Post, the new statistics come from a series of studies that steadily raised the rate of autism, and that the new estimate shows that autism is almost twice as common as estimates from five years ago.
“Diagnosis is just a start,” Dr. Catherine Lord, director of the new center, said in a statement. “By evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each patient, and by monitoring and measuring that individual’s response to a variety of approaches, we will fine-tune our ability to deliver the best possible short-term treatments. We also see our core identity as a hub from which we can connect patients and families to the wealth of programs and services in their own community.”