PRESTONSBURG – Highlands Center for Autism (HCA) is the only center-based program in Kentucky exclusively using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in a clinical setting. ABA is a science that uses behavioral techniques to teach children basic and complex skills. It works by reinforcing appropriate behavior while decreasing or eliminating challenging behavior. ABA also relies on objective data to make decisions about treatment.
After six years of providing treatment for children with autism, and support and education for their families, HCA has expanded their services. The new services include community based ABA intervention, consultation services, trainings for parents, caregivers and professionals, and on-site diagnostic services in conjunction with UK’s developmental pediatrician, Dr. Daniel Larrow, using telemedicine technology. Telemedicine uses high speed internet and video conferencing to allow providers to access non-critical patients and provide education through face-to-face electronic communication.
Dr. Larrow is a developmental pediatrician so he doesn’t see children for a cold, the flu, or strep. He only sees children with developmental or behavioral concerns, such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Intellectual Disability (ID), Learning Disorders (LD), or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to name a few.
The addition of Dr. Larrow allows parents to get an evaluation, intervention, and treatment for their children right here at home. This is significant because getting a multi-disciplinary ASD evaluation, for example, often requires families to travel long distances. This doesn’t factor in waitlists that are months or even years long. Providing this service to children and families in this area has the potential to be life changing.
“Early diagnosis and early intervention are key in ASD. In addition, we already have the treatment piece in place right here at the Center,” said Ashley Ratliff, MS, BCBA, Program Director, Highlands Center for Autism.
During the clinic, families are able to meet with Dr. Larrow, initially using telemedicine technology and then follow-up if necessary with an on-site visit and/or further assessment. Further assessment, for example in the case of an ASD evaluation, would be completed at HCA by a psychologist or independently licensed psychological practitioner and/or through Highlands Speech and Language by a Speech and Language therapist.
HCA provides treatment for children with ASD and having a diagnosis is key for receiving that treatment. Medical providers, physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists are able to make a diagnosis of ASD. But medical providers typically don’t have the materials or knowledge base to administer some of the necessary testing. That is generally left up to the psychologist. In order to get a 360 degree view of the child, multiple professionals are often required, including speech, psychology, and medical. The telemedicine clinic, lead by Larrow, now allows HCA to provide that service.
For more information on the Highlands Center for Autism or an appointment with Dr. Larrow, call (606) 889-6115.