Autism, a complex neurobiological disorder affecting childhood development and persisting throughout a lifetime, has become increasingly prevalent. Today, 1 in 36 individuals are diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. Autism manifests in various degrees, impairing a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
The Cadenza Autism Child Development Clinic offers integrated multi-disciplinary services designed to meet the individual needs of children with autism and related disabilities. With a team of psychologists, behavior analysts, music therapists, art therapist, and other behavioral specialists, we strive to provide comprehensive services to support the entire family.
A Trusted, Multidisciplinary Approach to Autism
We have streamlined the process for getting higher-quality assessments and shortened the time until services can begin. Our unique approach to autism treatment always begins with an initial clinical meeting with parents/caregivers, psychologists, and behavior analysts (BCBA) to better understand the history of the presenting concerns, review previous assessments, and discuss a plan of care.
Typically, each child receives an evaluation from one of our psychologists to provide clinical insight into a child’s diagnosis, contributing factors for concerns, make recommendations for treatment, and give referrals for other services such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, etc.
Children attend 2 or 3 in-office sessions to complete standardized assessments to better understand cognitive abilities, memory, language and communication, motor and sensory functioning, social and emotional functioning, and (possibly) academic ability. The BCBA often joins the testing sessions to gather baseline data on frequency and duration of maladaptive behaviors, need for and response to prompting and support, and conduct their own behavior analysis evaluation.
Parents and teachers also complete several questionnaires to better understand the child’s development in social, behavioral, communicative, self-care, and academic areas. The evaluation process may also include a daycare/classroom observation.
Once the evaluations are completed, a meeting is scheduled to review findings and parents receive a copy of the reports. Our psychologist leads the discussion about the child’s diagnosis (if any) as well as their unique strengths and weaknesses. Treatment recommendations and referrals are explored with thoughtful discussion on how best to prioritize the child’s needs.
Following the assessment, the Cadenza Center is able to provide one or more of our specialized services:
- Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): Our ABA services include assessment, therapy, behavior modification, and parent training. ABA is a science-based approach focused on skill acquisition and behavior improvement across various domains. By administering assessments such a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA), VB-Mapp, ABLLS, AFLS, and others, our Behavior Analysts create custom behavior plans to reduce maladaptive behaviors as well as promote skill acquisition in the areas of communication, social skills, adaptive functioning, and more.
- Counseling and Parent Guidance: Individual and/or family therapy sessions are conducted by our mental health staff to support behavioral and emotional concerns. Often children benefit from treatment for impulse control, perspective-taking, problem-solving, and social skills. Parents’ participation is essential to the process as skills practiced in session can be implemented at home to promote optimal progress.
- Social Skills Programs: Small group skills programs are held weekly to develop foundational skills in communication, pre-academic skills (e.g., attending, in-seat behavior, direction following, joint attention), social interactions to foster making friendships and maintaining them. Groups are formed with children of similar age and need rather than diagnosis.
- Music Therapy: Singing and playing instruments are an essential part of a child’s development. Foundational skills are developed areas of communication and language. Through individualized music interventions, children learn vocabulary, conversational proficiency, impulse control, and turn-taking. Music therapy is especially effective and appropriate for children who are non-verbal or who have difficulty with imitation, interacting with others, and adjusting their behavior to fit the environment.
- Art Therapy: Creative play and use of sensory materials are the foundation for initial work in art therapy. Children gain valuable experience with tolerating the demands of interacting with materials that promote greater self-awareness and expression. Through carefully designed art experiences, children also get the satisfaction of creating something while also supporting development of fine motor skills, improving planning and addressing frustration tolerance.
- Therapeutic Camps: Our therapeutic camps program is held in the office and provides a 1:1 behaviorally-based and structured environment for learning and growth. These are typically scheduled on Saturday mornings and when children are out of school, holiday breaks, and during the summer. Children participate in small group art, music, play, and motor activities designed to support social development.
- Consultation: We collaborate closely with families, educators, and other providers to ensure coordinated and effective services for our clients. We believe communication with other providers is essential for optimal progress. Our consultations with other medical providers, teachers and school support staff, and other clinicians. Our psychologists can also review evaluations from other providers and provide a “second opinion” about clinical recommendations and guidance for treatment.
Tailored Treatments for Unique Needs
At the Cadenza Center, we believe in the transformative power of early intervention and tailored treatments. Our dedication to individuals with autism goes beyond assessment – it extends to providing the support and resources needed to help them thrive and shine in their unique ways. If you have concerns about your child’s development or are seeking services for a loved one with autism, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to assist you on the journey towards growth, understanding, and a brighter future.