Expanding Services for Children with Autism
For more than 60 years, Valley Children’s has consistently adapted to the growing needs of our community, making the health and wellbeing of our children the top priority.
On July 17, Valley Children’s and Fresno State officially recognized the opening of the new Fresno State Autism Center on Valley Children’s campus with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. This new partnership between California State University, Fresno and Valley Children’s Hospital addresses the rising need of services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is the fastest growing developmental disability in the nation – and this partnership exemplifies the university and hospital’s enduring commitment to improve the quality of life for all children.
The Fresno State Autism Center @ Valley Children's Hospital is an early intervention center that provides principle-based behavior intervention for children 18 months to 6 years of age with or at risk of a diagnosis of autism or a related disability. Their research based procedures target the development of repertoires that are necessary for children to learn on their own, without the need for direct instruction of each new skill. Their instructional programs focus on expanding children’s language capabilities, enabling them to learn incidentally through observation of the environment. Their purpose is to provide children with optimal support to improve their access and quality of life in inclusive settings.
To best meet the needs of the child and the family, the Autism Center provides a blended model, combining both center and home based interventions. Creating a positive and fun environment, rich with language and opportunities for peer engagement is critical when addressing communication and social delays. While most goals can be addressed at the center, certain domains, especially self-help, are best met in the home. As such, the center staff will work closely with parents providing support and home visits as needed. To achieve optimal outcomes it takes a family, and the Autism Center staff look to support the development of each client through directly working with them and their parents.
The Fresno State Autism Center @ Valley Children's Hospital employs a team of professionals, trained in the use of Applied Behavior Analysis for children with autism. Their employees come from a variety of educational backgrounds with most studying applied behavior analysis, early childhood education, or speech & communicative disorders. Each client is directly supervised by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, with progress and outcomes monitored daily.
The Autism Center accepts clients between the ages of 18 months and 4 years of age, with most client’s services ending by the age of 6. The Autism Center is an in-network provider for the following insurance companies; Aetna, Health Net (ASG) - Beacon Health, Blue Cross Managed Care, CalViva, Cigna, Magellan – Anthem Blue Shield, Optum & Value Options. If not currently contracted with the client’s insurance provider, single case agreements can be made if out of network services are available. Referrals can be made to the Autism by calling 559-278-6779, or faxing a referral form to 55-278-0015 (The form can be found at http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/bsi/documents/REFERRALFORM.pdf). In most cases, assessment and services commence by the start of the following month.
The Autism Center is part of a continuum of care provided to those with ASD through the Behavioral Sciences Institute. The institute currently has four programs, the Autism Center, Behavior Intervention Services, Social Connections and Positive Parenting. Each of these programs meets a need in the community, by providing services throughout the lifespan for those with ASD. For more information please call, 559-278-6779.