New Autism Center of Excellence Opens at Children’s Clinics

Children’s Clinics, a local nonprofit, outpatient care center for children with special healthcare needs, has opened a long-awaited center of excellence for children diagnosed with autism. The Autism Center of Excellence is designed for recently diagnosed children with autism who also have a complex medical condition.

The Center of Excellence combines a myriad of services that families often struggle to access in a timely, affordable way by bringing the experts they need together in one, convenient location. By taking a multidisciplinary approach, the care team can collaborate together to assess the patient and offer an individualized treatment plan that will assist families in navigating complex medical systems.

Up to nine different members of the care team work collaboratively to provide families with the support and education they require to better advocate for their child’s needs while providing direct access to this cutting edge model of care. The care team includes the following: board-certified developmental behavioral pediatrician, board-certified behavior analyst, speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, registered dietitian, registered nurse, social worker and a child life specialist.

 “The ideal outcome is for patients and families to be supported in making progress in areas they identify as problematic such as behavior, social skills and overall quality of life” says Melissa Ritchey, Chief Clinical Officer at Children’s Clinics. 

The first patient was seen in the COE on April 27 and referrals are currently being accepted for new patients. Patients must meet enrollment criteria, which includes: 

  • AHCCCS Insurance
  • Age 10 and under
  • Recently diagnosed with autism (within the last 6-12 months) 
  • Has a complex medical condition in addition to autism
  • Severity level for DSM must be at least a level 2 

This project was made possible by generous funding provided by Angel Charity for Children, a local nonprofit that has donated helped over one million children in Pima County by raising money for other local nonprofits in the community. 

Children’s Clinics is a nonprofit, outpatient care center that has served children with special healthcare needs and their families in southern Arizona for over 30 years. Children’s Clinics provides primary care, specialty care, rehabilitative therapy services, and behavioral health in one, central location. The mission of Children’s Clinics is to provide a family centered, comprehensive medical home to meet the special needs of children and families.

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