The Cleveland Clinic, one of the nation’s foremost autism research and diagnostic centers, has opened the Lerner School for Autism. From the May 2008 press release:
“We are so excited that this day has come for us and for our students,” said Leslie Sinclair, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital Center for Autism. “We see so many children from all over the country who lack treatment options in their communities. This new school will allow us to open our doors to many more children and offer quality care in a much more efficient space.”
The dedication program on May 15 included honoring Norma Lerner and Mort and Iris November for their generous donations, which made the project possible. Delos M. “Toby” Cosgrove, M.D., President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, Robert Wyllie, M.D., Physician-in Chief of the Children’s Hospital, and Ms. Sinclair, in addition to students and parents attended the event.
Autism is a developmental disorder that affects one in 150 children. It is defined by three factors: significant impairment in social exchange and interaction; impaired communication skills; and repetitive or stereotyped behaviors and/or interests. Autism is part of a larger group of developmental disabilities called pervasive developmental disorders, often referred to globally as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Other disorders include Asperger’s disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
There is no vaccination or cure for autism, but behavioral therapy has been shown effective in alleviating symptoms, particularly if it is sought early. Family support and participation is extremely important in reinforcing improvements. The only treatments supported by clinical data include programs using the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), also referred to as Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) when aimed at young children, and some pharmacological treatments.
The Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism has had an active consultation business in the local community since 1998. Therapists have provided individual, classroom, home and school consultation. The Center has also recently launched the Cleveland Clinic Autism Consulting Group to help other organizations incorporate the Center’s treatment practices. The group’s first out-state-project is to collaborate in the development of the Ozark Center for Autism in Joplin, Mo.
About Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital
Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital is a hospital within a hospital at Cleveland Clinic. More than 200 pediatric specialists offer medical, surgical, neonatal and intensive care at our Main Campus, and rehabilitative, developmental, and behavioral care at our Shaker Campus.
The acute-care pediatric hospital is located on Main Campus, and the Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation and Center for Autism are located at our Shaker Campus. Children’s Hospital medical and surgical subspecialty services are also offered at Hillcrest and Fairview hospitals, which have dedicated pediatric emergency departments and neonatal intensive care units. Pediatric care also available at Cleveland Clinic Family Health Centers throughout the community.
Cleveland Clinic is a not-for-profit multispecialty academic medical center integrating clinical care, research, and education.