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Learn more about Autism from the Cook Children’s Child Study Center

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day

One size does not fit all. Every child deserves treatment tailored to their unique needs.

Just as no child should be defined by a single trait or characteristic, no treatment should revolve around a single symptom – or utilize a one-size-fits-all therapy approach. Developmental and behavioral challenges are frequently multi-dimensional. At the Cook Children’s Child Study Center, not only do we understand that, we embrace it. We look beyond a single symptom and into the complex whole problem. By focusing on a child in context of his or her complete environment, our specialists can work with parents to bring a child’s full potential to light.

Every therapy treatment used at the Center is scientifically proven and evidence based. Our world-class clinicians and highly-trained staff thoroughly evaluate each child to identify specific developmental disorders. We only use practices that research shows will help get positive results for your child.

Over 56 years, Child Study Center has grown with the needs of the community and evolved with improvements in scientific knowledge. Today, Child Study Center provides high quality care to about 2,000 children per year from a variety of backgrounds with a dedication to evidence-based practices, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA). The Center’s three main programs include: the Developmental Pediatrics Clinic, Applied Behavior Analysis, and the Jane Justin School.

The Developmental Pediatrics Clinic—generally a child’s first visit to Child Study Center, saw a total of 1,747 individual children in 2017. Any child with developmental disabilities must be followed by a developmental pediatrician to determine the child’s level of success, monitor medical needs, and coordinate referrals to other medical and therapeutic specialists.

Psychological Services—offers educational testing, which is often required to determine a child’s learning abilities. Counseling is also accessible in this area. Testing reveals a child’s challenges so they can be addressed, rather than become an unidentified stumbling block. A diagnosis also allows children to access specialized services in the community and public schools.

ABA Services saw a total of 128 individual children in 2017. Applied Behavior Analysis therapy helps children with autism and other developmental disorders to reduce problem behaviors and increase skill acquisition. This scientifically backed therapy is used in the department’s two clinical areas:

  • Autism Services—enrolled 36 children with autism, ages 3-8 in the full-time, day treatment program last year. This intense program has a proven success rate with clients learning an average of 248 skills throughout their sessions.
  • Behavior Disorders Clinic—helped 92 children of varied ages address the behavior challenges of varied developmental disabilities in 2017. After receiving two weeks of intensive services at the clinic, some children no longer require the specialized care Child Study Center provides, while others transition to the Autism Services Day Treatment Program.

The Jane Justin School provided specialized education services to 81 children throughout 2017. Each of these children has severe learning and/or developmental disabilities and receives a specialized education plan created to remove barriers to learning and provide educational support. As a result of individualized pacing, students in the Jane Justin School gain an average of two months’ skills for each single month in attendance, thus closing the gap on their typically developing peers. (

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