Press Release

For Immediate Release
Oct 28, 2008
Contact : Robert Cavanaugh  
732-776-4166
rcavanaugh@meridianhealth.com

Hope For Children With Autism:  $1 Million Grant Awarded To Jersey Shore University Medical Center

 

Neptune, NJ - The Foundation of Jersey Shore University Medical Center on behalf of the K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital has received a two-year $1 million grant to provide state of the art diagnostic testing and management for underserved children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This grant makes possible clinical enhancements of existing services for a more comprehensive collaborative "medical home" model for children diagnosed with autism. The Early Autism Center at K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital is only one of six centers in New Jersey chosen by the NJ Governors Council on Autism of the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services.

With this grant Denise Aloisio, M.D., neurodevelopmental pediatrician, leads a team of care providers from the Child Evaluation Center, the Infant Toddler Assessment Program, Behavioral Heath and Progressions Rehab, to create the Early Autism Center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

"This Center provides a county-wide system of care and support for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)," says Dr. Aloisio. "This grant provides us the opportunity to increase the much needed services in our area."

The goal of the center is to provide coordinated, comprehensive care and support for young children (0-6 years old) with ASDs including those living at or the below poverty level who may not be able to access medical services. This program enhances current services for young children with ASDs and focuses on early identification, assessment, treatment, and care management.

"Working with this great team each and every day allows us to provide continued care to our children in the community with autism," said Dr. Aloisio. "I have seen many children make tremendous progress with appropriately intensive services provided at young ages."

There are five main objectives to this program expansion at the K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital. The Early Autism Center at K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital will work directly with primary care providers to increase organized screening and promote earlier identification of young children with signs of autism. Once children are identified as being at risk, the Infant Toddler Assessment Program (ITAP) provides a secondary screening in a timelier manner in order to begin services quickly and start full diagnostic evaluation. The diagnostic team has expanded to provide comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and recommendations to optimize the child's developmental potential. Once children are diagnosed there is collaboration between providers of language and motor therapies, social skill intervention and behavioral support for families. The Center will also work closely with community agencies to increase awareness and provide support services for families and professionals.

For more information about the Early Autism Center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, please call 732-776-4178.

Jersey Shore University Medical Center, a member of the Meridian Health family, is a not-for-profit university teaching and home to the K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital – the first children's hospital in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Jersey Shore is the regional provider of cardiac surgery, a program which has been ranked among the best in the Northeast, and is home to the only trauma center and nationally-designated stroke center in the region. Jersey Shore University Medical Center specializes in cardiac care and surgery, orthopedics and rehabilitation, cancer care, and advanced women's and children's health services.