UofL Creates Autism Center
Multi-disciplinary partnership is unique to the region
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville Board of Trustees has given approval to establish the UofL Autism Center, a multi-disciplinary provider of research, educational leadership, support, clinical and educational services to children with autism and their families.
“The UofL Autism Center will be unique to the region as a one-stop resource for children with autism,” said UofL President James Ramsey. “Our vision is a center of excellence that builds on the expertise we have at UofL, brings best practices to Louisville and facilitates research by scientists and educators who promise to significantly advance the understanding, management and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.”
The Autism Center is a joint effort by the UofL Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics and the College of Education and Human Development that will eventually incorporate resources from other university programs. The university-based partnership will serve as the focus for collaboration with other community-based autism services and advocacy groups.
Autism is one of the nation’s leading disabilities, a brain disorder that causes significant social and communication problems. Autism and related disorders are believed to occur at a rate of 1 in 144 children. Individuals with autism frequently have other developmental and medical problems that need to be addressed by specialists.
Efforts are under way to find a single location to house all the services and to recruit a nationally-known director. Until space is found, clinical services will be provided by UofL physicians and experts at Kosair Children’s Hospital, the Bingham Center and the STAR program at UofL’s Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center. Training services will be offered at UofL’s Kentucky Autism Training Center and at sites around the state.
“People shouldn’t have to leave the region to get the help they need. UofL is taking a leadership role in addressing the great needs of the many whose lives have been forever changed by autism,” Ramsey added. “Working hand-in-hand with community groups, autism advocates, parents and families, we have a far greater chance of making a real difference in people’s day-to-day lives, all the while unraveling autism’s mysteries and mitigating its devastating effects.”