Highlands Hospital autism center licensed site for Cleveland Clinic
Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism announced on Thursday that it is the first licensed site of Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism in the United States.
The designation allows the facility in Bullskin to expand its outreach to the community and to benefit from the research and expertise offered by the Cleveland Clinic.
“They helped to make our vision of opening an autism center a reality,” said Michelle Cunningham, chief executive officer of Highlands Hospital.
Cunningham said the designation is a testament of the Fayette County clinic's success.
“This shows that our clinic has reached a level of excellence that is equal to the Cleveland Clinic Children's Center. We are proud to reach such an outstanding milestone for our facility,” she said. “Our children and families will now have the highest access to autism services in the Laurel Highlands region.”
The Highlands clinic opened in 2010 with four students; the number has more than doubled.
“As our first licensed site, Highlands Hospital Center for Autism will benefit from the best practices and research-driven benchmarks we have successfully employed at Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism,” said Travis Haycook, assistant director for Cleveland Clinic Autism Development Solutions. “This site is working at a level that we truly feel is at the top of their game. It is great to see what is happening here and to see the changes in the children. We are dedicated to supporting this program for years to come.”
Highlands will follow the exact same model of diagnostic evaluation and treatment offered at Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism.
The Highlands Hospital Center for Autism has been successful in educating children with spectrum disorders once they have been diagnosed. It is considering to provide vocational training so that young adults can develop skills necessary to enter the workforce with confidence. The center serves people ages 5 to 21.
The staff from the Highlands clinic was recognized on Thursday for their drive and dedication to the program and for their efforts and work with the children.
Amanda Freger, director of autism services at Highlands Hospital, said she appreciates Cleveland Clinic for its support and backing.
“The support from Cleveland has been amazing,” Freger said. “If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here today.”
Chuck Gallagher of Star Junction provided a testament to the Highlands clinic during the recognition program on Thursday. His 8-year-old autistic twin sons, Charles and Hunter, attend the Highlands center.
“We are honored to have our children in the Highlands Clinic for Autism,” Gallagher said. “We feel that the center has worked wonders. Our boys can now dress themselves, they know their colors and they are starting to write. We thank you for what you have brought to Fayette County. We can't tell you how much we are grateful.”
Cunningham said Fayette County has one of the highest rates of autism in Pennsylvania. Highlands Hospital is only one of five hospitals to mirror Cleveland Clinic's autism program.
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.