Center for Autism & the Developing Brain
Comprehensive evaluation, treatment, education, and support for patients of all ages and their families
Evaluation and Treatment
Comprehensive Assessment and the Latest Therapies
NewYork-Presbyterian's Center for Autism and the Developing Brain (CADB) offers a variety of services to children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other developmental challenges. Our team conducts comprehensive evaluations, provides evidence-based treatments, and consults with community providers to provide integrated care for each patient across the lifespan. Treatments address social, communication, and/or behavioral challenges and help patients better participate in activities in their homes, schools, and communities.
Making the Diagnosis
Our approach includes a comprehensive process to understand your child and family so we can make an accurate diagnosis and the most effective recommendations for care. You will be asked to complete several forms online before you come to our center. Here's what you can expect:
Initial clinic intake visit. Our clinical social worker meets with you to perform a one-hour initial assessment that will define the next steps in the process. Most families go on to receive a multiday diagnostic evaluation, which includes:
- Medical Assessment. Patients age 21 and younger meet with CADB pediatrician to provide the multidisciplinary team with targeted information about the patient’s physical history and any medical concerns. This visit may last one hour.
- Gathering a history. During this visit, we collect information from caregivers about the patient's social, developmental, and educational history along with specific areas of concern. This visit may last about three hours (two to three hours for re-evaluations).
- Diagnostic testing. The patient undergoes comprehensive testing using evidence-based diagnostic tools for autism, including the ADOS and, for some patients, the ADI-R. Based on data collected during the beginning of the assessment, we may bring in other specialists needed to make a diagnosis. This visit often lasts about three hours.
- Feedback/recommendations. Our team presents you with the results of our assessments and our recommendations for the patient's treatment.
Because we offer care throughout a person's lifespan, we regularly conduct re-evaluations to assess a patient’s functioning during each stage of life so we can make recommendations for any necessary changes to their services based on their evolving needs.
Services are offered to children aged 12-36 months and their families through the Early Intervention Program, which is administered by the New York State Department of Health through the Bureau of Early Intervention. To receive these services, patients must be New York State residents and be found eligible for services under the NYS Early Intervention Program due to an established diagnosis and/or a significant developmental delay affecting physical development, cognitive development, communication, social-emotional behaviors, and/or adaptive skills. While we focus on the assessment and treatment of children with ASD, we will care for children with overlapping conditions if we feel we can provide appropriate services.
We use the Early Start Denver Model (EDSM) and Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions (NDBI) to develop appropriate activities for each child, with teaching embedded into play and daily activities. Our treatment services include:
- Small classroom and behavioral programming (no more than six children at a time)
- Family education and counseling
- Parent support groups
- Parent coaching with the child and other caregivers
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
Intervention for all ages
Our clinic provides care for patients of all ages. Intervention services are often covered by insurance and include speech therapy, occupational therapy, parent coaching, social skills group therapy, and other individual treatment services tailored to the patient's age and needs. We use the ESDM and NDBI as well as the Research Units in Behavioral Intervention (RUBI), Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) models to design our patients' care plans.
Our Approach to Care
Our care team includes clinicians from the following disciplines: medicine, occupational therapy, psychiatry, psychology, social work, and speech and language therapy, all of whom have specialty training in autism. We provide individual as well as group treatment. Treatment services are short-term — typically carried out at CADB over the course of up to 12 weeks, but modified as needed. Throughout this time, our providers and family navigator continue to collaborate with families and other providers to ensure a smooth transfer of service and support to the home, school, and community settings.
We understand that learning your child has autism can be overwhelming. All families who receive a new diagnosis of autism are invited to attend a monthly educational workshop called Next Steps, conducted by our social worker and family navigator. We designed this program to help you learn about autism, connect you with helpful resources, and give you an opportunity to speak with other families who may be sharing similar experiences with you.
Specialized autism treatments.
Your child can receive all the care he or she needs in one place, here at CADB, from an integrated team of autism specialists who collaborate daily with each other to provide exceptional care. We understand and treat the whole patient, not just their ASD symptoms. Our treatments include:
Medical services. The CADB medical team is made up of doctors from fields such as psychiatry, developmental pediatrics, and general pediatric care, among others. Our physicians evaluate and treat co-occurring psychiatric and medical conditions in patients with ASD, such as developmental and behavioral disorders, sleep and eating challenges, and other autism-specific health concerns.
Speech therapy. Our speech/language pathologists perform speech and language and assistive technology evaluations and use the AAC model to provide patients with equipment (such as iPads or computer software) to enhance communication. Our therapists treat patients of all ages and work with their families to help them advocate for what they need in the patient's school and/or community.
Occupational therapy. Occupational therapy helps people enhance their cognitive, perception, and motor skills so they can better perform activities of daily living. Young patients can have occupational therapy in our gym with specialized equipment. Adults can learn social skills and basic life skills to help them prepare to get a job, such as bathing and grooming regularly. All occupational therapy services are customized to each patient's changing needs as they grow up.
Why Choose Us
We use the latest diagnostic tools and take time getting to know each patient and family, so we can match each child with the most effective treatment based on research-based educational models. Although we are part of a large academic medical center, the care we offer is personalized and intimate. CADB is designed to provide services over a defined length of time, and then connect you with continued services and resources in your community. You can come back to us at each phase of your child's lifespan for a re-evaluation and a new care plan that meets their needs at that time. We work to build upon each patient's strengths, promote their independence, and give them skills to better engage in the world around them. If you suspect your child may have ASD, call us at 914-997-5848, option 2, for a consultation to see how we can help your family.
NewYork-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health Center
Center for Autism & the Developing Brain