Program will provide diagnostic testing and facilitate research into the disorder
The Montreal Children's Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) today officially opened a clinic for its new Autism Spectrum Disorders Program. Funded by private donations to The Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation, the Program will provide a range of services including a diagnostic clinic for children of all ages, a psychopharmacology clinic, a social skills group for adolescents with high functioning autism and Asperger's Disorder, and a parent group to provide post-diagnosis education and support.
The Program brings The Children's autism specialists together in one clinic. The team is comprised of two psychiatrists, two paediatricians, a nurse, speech therapist, occupational therapist, audiologist, psychologist, social worker, coordinator and secretary.
"With various specialties working together, we will be able to diagnose children faster. In turn, this will allow autistic children to gain access to services offered by their CLSC and by the Centre de Réadaptation en Déficience Intellectuel (CRDI)," says Dr. Lee Tidmarsh, staff child psychiatrist, Autism Spectrum Disorders Program of The Montreal Children's Hospital. Currently, there is a six to 12 months wait to be seen in The Children's Autism Spectrum Disorders Program diagnostic clinic.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a range of severity affecting language, social interaction and behaviour, and affects 6 per 1000 individuals.
The new program will also enhance the capacity of The Children's to teach health care professionals from across Quebec how to diagnosis the disorder and facilitate research into this complex developmental disability. "This centre will bring together the patient and their families and also all the healthcare professionals. This will facilitate and focus our research studies in such areas such as epidemiology, genetics, and intervention", says Dr. Eric Fombonne, head of child psychiatry at McGill and world-renowned autism researcher.