Families of Autism Patients Given Help and Hope
Crystal Charity Ball Donation Assists Those Wrestling with Treatment Challenges
April 10, 2008
Parents of children with autism spectrum disorders face a frustrating and confusing process when seeking treatment. Because the symptoms are diverse and often ill-defined, parents are sent to many different specialists. They may receive conflicting information, making it tough to establish a clear diagnosis and coordinate effective treatments.
|Callier Center autism services|
|UT Dallas Center for BrainHealth|
|Crystal Charity Ball commitment|
For the families of the 4,500 children in Dallas County who suffer from autism, relief is on the way, thanks to funding from the Crystal Charity Ball.
In a program that aims to become a national model, the Dallas charity will provide funding to integrate the resources of The UT Dallas Callier Center and Center for BrainHealth and the UT Southwestern Medical Center to establish the Crystal Charity Ball Autism Program. The result will be a more comprehensive approach to autism care and research.
Already each institution offers important services for children affected by autism spectrum disorders, but Dallas families lack a centralized resource for diagnosis and treatment.
Currently the UT Southwestern Medical Center oversees medical services for autism patients, the UT Dallas Callier Center provides treatment aimed at improving social communication and language skills in children with autism and the UT Dallas Center for BrainHealth has research programs aimed at finding the causes and underlying mechanisms associated with the symptoms of autism.
The Crystal Charity Ball Autism Program will integrate and expand the resources of these three institutions to provide comprehensive autism care and research.
One in 160 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder, which includes autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Rett’s disorder, and other related developmental disorders, according to the Center for Disease Control. These disorders can cause devastating communication, social interaction and learning disabilities for a child, but early identification and treatment can be extremely effective at improving the course of these diseases.
Through the Crystal Charity Ball Autism Program, Dallas children between the ages of 12 months and 18 years will, for the first time, have access to a comprehensive, coordinated clinical and research program that will help them obtain an accurate diagnosis, explore their treatment options and coordinate their long term care.
In addition, the program will include state-of-the-art laboratory and clinical research, which will lead to new knowledge and better treatments for autism. Since a large part of the work with children who have autism occurs in the classroom, it will also expand the capacity and breadth of the training programs offered by the UT Dallas Callier Center to prepare additional educational specialists in Dallas schools.
By leveraging resources from these outstanding institutions and coordinating programs with other community agencies, the Crystal Charity Ball Autism Program will establish an important model for helping families dealing with this debilitating disorder.
“We are honored to have been selected by the Crystal Charity Ball for support of our Autism program,” said Bert Moore, Dean of the UT Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, which includes the Callier Center and the Center for BrainHealth. I believe that we will be able to develop one of the best resource programs in the country and conduct innovative research on the causes and the cure of this disorder.”