RWJBarnabas Health’s Children’s Specialized Hospital launches new CSH Autism Center of Excellence

Children’s Specialized Hospital, part of the RWJBarnabas Health Children’s Health Network, recently launched a new enhanced program, CSH AUTISM, Children’s Specialized Hospital’s Autism Center of Excellence. The center will provide services, training, advocacy and research to support individuals with autism, helping them reach their full potential and create lives with meaning, purpose and choice.

“Through this newly established center, we hope to provide high-quality services, training and research that effectively advocates for equity for individuals with autism across several focus areas,” Dr. Malia Beckwith, assistant vice president of ambulatory medical practices and section chief of developmental behavioral pediatrics at Children’s Specialized Hospital, said. “By taking this integrated approach, success is embedded at every touchpoint for individuals with autism, from diagnosis to intervention and beyond.”

According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New Jersey has the third-highest rate of autism in the nation: 1 in 35 children, or 2.9% of 8-year-old children.

The center’s services recognize the importance of clinical innovation to improve access to various evidence-based autism therapies. Medical services include developmental behavioral pediatrics, physiatry, primary care, psychiatry and system partners. Additionally, patients can receive therapy services such as applied behavior analysis, early intervention, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology, severe behavior and speech and feeding therapy.

Available community trainings will highlight the needs and strengths of individuals with autism, and improve access to and quality of support. Programs include Navigating the Journey seminars, education support services, autism spectrum disorder-friendly medical services training, deescalation training for staff, patient/family support for inpatient settings and more. The General Pediatrics developmental behavioral pediatrics training track and DBP-Primary Care collaboration are a few professional trainings from the center, designed to increase access to diagnosis and support.

“The establishment of this center opens a world of possibilities for those on the autism spectrum,” Beckwith said. “We are confident these offerings will create necessary and appreciated support.”

CSH AUTISM began offering services across all CSH sites this month.