What We Treat

What We Treat

Autism Spectrum Disorder, including:

Individual programs are developed for each child, depending on his or her needs. All programs rely on current autism findings, with a strong focus on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

Applied behavior analysis is a science that uses behavioral techniques to teach children basic and complex skills. ABA teaches and reinforces appropriate behavior in children while decreasing or eliminating interfering behavior.

Opportunities for success are built into the program. Adjustments are made as children progress, helping them to function better in the world.

Diagnostic Clinics

Diagnostic Clinics

Evaluations are conducted at the Center for Autism through the following Diagnostic Clinics:

Interdisciplinary Evaluation Clinics

Some children may display signs of autism at a very early age. We conduct an interdisciplinary comprehensive evaluation for children up to age 2 years, 11 months to identify those children who show developmental delays and symptoms characteristic of an autism spectrum disorder, or who have failed an autism screening. All children are evaluated by the following health professionals:

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst
  • Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician
  • Neurologist
  • Pediatric Psychologist
  • Speech/Language Pathologist

The evaluation will occur over two days, in sessions of approximately two hours each and consisting of:

  • Developmental assessment
  • Parent interview
  • Physical/genetic screen
  • Speech evaluation

These evaluations take place over the course of two weeks (with a two-hour appointment each week), and parents return the third week for the results of their evaluation. During the sessions, children participate in a comprehensive inter-disciplinary evaluation.

Families receive a comprehensive report and are connected to early intervention treatment. Appropriate referrals for additional services will be made.

View the red flags of developmental delays.

Diagnostic and Treatment Planning Clinic

In this clinic, children age three and older are evaluated by a psychologist to determine if they have an autism spectrum disorder (i.e., Autism, Asperger’s, PDD-NOS). These evaluations typically take between two and three hours, with a follow-up appointment the following week to review conclusions and recommendations, including appropriate referrals to community resources.

An initial diagnosis or second-opinion includes a 90-120 minute autism evaluation with a psychologist using evidence-based assessment tools and rating forms completed by parents and teachers.

Children age three and older who present with autism or suspected autism, as well as medical concerns (i.e. seizures, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders, psychopharmacology are evaluated by a team of professionals in order to determine the most appropriate treatment. There are two inter-disciplinary clinics:

  1. Children presenting with concerns of autism, language deficits and medical concerns of chronic constipation, very limited food preferences and/or medication questions will see a team, which includes a pediatric psychologist, neurodevelopmental pediatrician and speech pathologist.
  2. Children presenting with concerns of autism, language deficits and medical concerns of epilepsy or possible seizures, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders, and/or metabolic disorders or children with autism who had significant regression after age three will see a team including a pediatric psychologist, neurologist, speech pathologist and occupational therapist.

Speech/Language Evaluations

The goal of speech/language therapy is to improve communication skills and the social use of language. Children may be taught to use a variety of language skills to express ideas and emotions. These may consist of gestures, eye contact, facial expression, and vocalizations, or the use of communication tools, such as pictures, boards or books. These programs are developed on an individual basis to meet the distinct needs of each child. Therapy may be conducted through our educational programs, as well as through in-home consultation.

To arrange an evaluation, please contact the Center for Autism at 216.448.6440.

Programs

Programs

Autism Development Solutions

Autism Development Solutions provides customizable consulting services—from assessment and research to the complete formation of a center for autism—to bring world-class, evidence-based autism treatment to your institution and community.

Early childhood education

Infant and Toddler and Preschool Services

Our early childhood program is a full-day, center-based, intensive behavioral program serving children from age of earliest diagnosis through age five. The program focuses on teaching communication, play, socialization, and developmentally appropriate skills. We offer parents a variety of opportunities for coaching, including a lecture series and guided classroom and home visits.

The Center for Autism offers an integrated part-time preschool program for children with high functioning autism three full days per week. The classroom allows for up to 10 children with autism and 5 neuro-typical children. The program will focus on building communication, play, social interaction, and Kindergarten readiness skills.  

Outreach and consultation services

An initial diagnosis or second-opinion includes a 90-120 minute autism evaluation with a psychologist using evidence-based assessment tools and rating forms completed by parents and teachers.

Children age three and older who present with autism or suspected autism, as well as medical concerns (i.e. seizures, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders, psychopharmacology are evaluated by a team of professionals in order to determine the most appropriate treatment. There are two inter-disciplinary clinics:

  1. Children presenting with concerns of autism, language deficits and medical concerns of chronic constipation, very limited food preferences and/or medication questions will see a team, which includes a pediatric psychologist, neurodevelopmental pediatrician and speech pathologist.
  2. Children presenting with concerns of autism, language deficits and medical concerns of epilepsy or possible seizures, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders, and/or metabolic disorders or children with autism who had significant regression after age three will see a team including a pediatric psychologist, neurologist, speech pathologist and occupational therapist.

Functional behavior assessments

The primary goal for each autistic child is to increase the child’s functioning and independence to the fullest extent possible. The center’s programs are created in consultation with parents, center staff, and autism experts, and are based on an educational and behavioral philosophy that focuses on the individual needs of each student.

All aspects of life are aggressively targeted, including:

  • Academic skills
  • Adaptive life skills
  • Behavior
  • Communication
  • Leisure/physical activity
  • Pre-vocational/vocational skills
  • Socialization
  • Transition to adulthood

Lerner School for Autism

The state-of-the-art Lerner School for Autism is the centerpiece of the 20,000-square-foot Debra Ann November Wing at our Hospital for Rehabilitation Campus. This chartered, non-public day school, certified by the state of Ohio, serves students from diagnosis to age 22. Staff includes:

  • Board-certified behavior analysts
  • Certified intervention specialists
  • Classroom behavior therapists
  • Pediatric psychologists
  • Speech/language pathologists

Our educational program emphasizes research-supported autism intervention, based on the philosophy and interventional techniques of ABA. The Lerner School provides:

  • Full-day, year-round program
  • Highly individualized programs
  • Low student-to-staff ratio
  • Strong parental involvement
  • Tiered levels of instruction

Outpatient Therapy – Rocky River

Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism, Rocky River is an outpatient clinic serving children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is a community based clinic located in the Don Umerley Civic Center in Rocky River.

The following therapies are available at the Center for Autism, Rocky River outpatient clinic:

  • Speech & Language Therapy
    • Focuses on improving communication, articulation, use of social language, and where appropriate, alternative communication methods
    • Speech therapists are trained in Applied behavior Analysis (ABA) and use behavioral techniques in therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
    • Focuses on fine and gross motor skills important to everyday functioning, including school and home tasks
    • Occupational therapists are trained in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and use behavioral techniques in therapy
  • Behavior Therapy
    • Focuses on improving communication, pre-academic and academic skills, daily living skills, and social skills.
    • Parent training is available and considered a key component to successful intervention.

For more information about Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism, Rocky River services, please call 440-895-2020.

Social SPIES Program

We offer formal training on social thinking concepts for children with high functioning Autism/Asperger’s Disorder. There are three major components to this program:

  1. Social skills training occurring during the school year. Children meet once per week for 20 weeks to learn social thinking concepts leading to friendship development.
  2. Summer treatment at a local inclusive camp. After receiving the social skills training, children are paired with a behavioral coach and attend a summer camp for 6 weeks in order to generalize their skills into a more natural setting.
  3. Parent therapeutic/training groups. While children attend their groups, parents also attend a group. Parents attend 22 training sessions from October-July. Group sessions teach parents ways to increase generalization of their child’s targeted skills in the home and community setting. Parents learned the necessary skills to maintain behavioral change in their child(ren).

Children typically sign up for the program during the summer, with the program beginning in the fall and lasting for 10 months. Children who have successfully completed the first three components of the program may be eligible to participate in 2 or 3 booster sessions the following school year.

Training for parents and siblings

Family Education

Home-based programs

The infant/toddler (ages 0 to 3 years) program offers a combination of in-home and center-based therapy. Its focus is on communication, behavior, play, socialization and developmentally appropriate skill acquisition.

Parent Group Therapy

Dr. Thomas Frazier, II provides parents with up-to-date information on ASD, emphasizing associated problems and treatment. The group also provides a supportive environment for parents of newly diagnosed children or parents who are now re-accessing state of the art services for their children with ASD.

Workshops

Our workshops cover a variety of topics including toilet training, basics of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and others. Workshops are held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Children's Hospital for Rehabilitation Campus in the Debra Ann November Wing.

Register for workshops via the workshops page.

Register Now

Research

Research

The Autism Research Program works to improve understanding, education and treatment of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

The overarching goal of the autism research program is to improve understanding, education, and treatment of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

By participating in a research program, participants, with their families, can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available and help others by contributing to medical research.

A research study is conducted to try to answer a question. The question varies from study to study. The research protocol or study plan clearly states the question being asked and informs potential participants of the tests and procedures that will be conducted during the study. If you decide to enter into a research study, be sure you know what question the researcher is trying to answer.

Autism Research Program Newsletters

Download one of our newsletters below.

2016

2015

Areas of Research

  1. Biological causes of autism spectrum disorders
  2. Assessment of core and associated autism symptoms
  3. Behavioral & medication treatment of autism spectrum disorder

Treatment studies focus on behavioral and medical interventions that can improve the lives of individuals with autism. These include projects examining existing and new behavioral treatments and medicines

Assessment studies evaluate new methods for identifying autism symptoms in infants and toddlers, older children, adolescents and adults. These studies also include evaluation of language and communication deficits in individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

As we uncover new genetic causes we hope to develop personalized genetic treatments for children, adolescents and adults with autism.

A Trial of CM-AT in Children with Autism with All Levels of FCT

The Center for Autism is investigating the effects of an investigational study medication, CM-AT, which may help with core and non-core symptoms of Autism. Researchers will evaluate children using psychological, medical, behavioral, and developmental measures.

The 14-week clinical trial is a FDA-regulated powdered investigational medication which is neutral in taste and is sprinkled on food three times a day. Participants must be between the ages of 3-8 and have a diagnosis of ASD. Contact our Research Coordinator Emily Zetzer to find out more at 216-636-3032 or zetzere@ccf.org

Autism Research Internship

The Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism Research Program conducts interviews in the spring/late summer for fall internship positions and in the late fall for spring internship positions. Students selected to participate have the opportunity to work on a variety of research projects, including: compiling yearly assessment data for current students and assisting with data entry, database creation and data analysis for a variety of projects.

Interns will have the opportunity to expand their knowledge base to include information regarding autism spectrum disorders, Applied Behavior Analysis and research. Requirements include experience with Microsoft Excel and SPSS software, attention to detail, and independent work skills. Opportunity for assistance on additional projects may be possible.

To apply please send resume and cover letter to autismresearch@ccf.org.

Contact Us

For more information on current research programs and clinical trials, please contact us at autismresearch@ccf.org

Staff

Staff

Appointments

Appointments

Child and adolescent patients come to Cleveland Clinic Children’s from all over the world for care.

Cleveland Clinic Children's
Center for Autism

2801 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
Cleveland, Ohio 44104

Additional Information

Additional Information

Coming in for a visit? View our visit guides for more information.

Center for Autism Visit Guide for Dr. Markowitz

Center for Autism Visit Guide for Dr. Speer

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to questions about our autism services and programs.

Autism Diagnosis and Treatment

Online Health Chat Transcripts

Autism Workshops

Register for workshops that provide information on everything from symptoms and treatments to sleeping and toileting behaviors as well as Applied Behavior Analysis series.

Behavioral Intervention for Children with Autism

Learn more about well controlled and scientifically validated interventions for autistic children to help teach new skills and to reduce problem behaviors.