Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or Autism, is a complex neurodevelopmental disability that typically appears during the first two years of life and affects a person’s ability to effectively communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is currently no known single cause of autism, no known single cure, and no single effective treatment. A recent national study found an estimated prevalence of one in every 68 children-a dramatic increase from years past.
Evaluations by the Easter Seals' team are available for children of all ages. Warning signs may include:
Easter Seals is one of very few organizations in Illinois that provides an ASD Diagnostic Clinic providing screening and clinical diagnostic services for children suspected of an Autism Spectrum Disorder. This unique regional service currently provides nearly 40% of all ASD clinical diagnostic evaluations conducted in Illinois.
Easter Seals began its interdisciplinary ASD Diagnostic Clinic at its Peoria service center in 2003, and opened a second clinic at the Bloomington service center in 2007. To date, more than 1,500 children have been served.
Following a physician referral to the clinic but prior to being scheduled, the coordinator conducts a screening interview. If appropriate, the child is scheduled for a complete interdisciplinary ASD evaluation. This comprehensive clinic may consist of a medical evaluation with a developmental pediatrician, psychological evaluation, administration of The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), speech and language evaluation, and an occupational therapy evaluation. The evaluation may also include a family staffing to explain diagnosis, offer treatment recommendations and appropriate community service referrals. Clinical teams are created to address each child's unique needs.
A Diagnostic Specialist offers support and treatment planning for families referred to the Autism Diagnostic Clinic at Easter Seals. The Diagnostic Specialist works with families to provide support and referral assistance when a referral to the clinic is initiated.
A clinical diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder is distinct from an educational diagnosis provided by school districts. A clinical diagnosis is required in Illinois for insurance reimbursement for services provided under Public Act 95-1005, the Illinois Autism Insurance Mandate that became effective in December 2008.
For more information or to make a referral, please contact our experts in Peoria at 309.686.1177 and in Bloomington at 309.663.8275.
Ameren Illinois awards a $35,000 grant to help fund the ASD Clinic.
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