One in every 88 U.S. children has been diagnosed with autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To address the critical needs across the nation and in northwest Ohio, ProMedica has opened a new autism center with several area programs and resources under one roof. The new ProMedica Toledo Children's Hospital Autism Center is located at 2040 W. Central Ave. in Toledo. Services are offered by several members of a community network called the Toledo Regional Autism Network (TRAN).
The goal of TRAN and the autism center is to combine support services that have been fragmented, disjointed and difficult to access. By leveraging the resources of the respective organizations, TRAN is able to better serve the needs of individuals with autism and their families and caregivers.
"The network and new facility help us to communicate and coordinate better, which allows us to help families of those recently diagnosed with autism quickly and effectively by locating the right services that fit each family's unique situation," noted Catina Harding, Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism executive director and facilitator of TRAN.
The center is home to ProMedica Toledo Children's Hospital Autism Early Learning Program, Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism, Harbor, iTaalk, Self Reliance Center, and Special Kids Therapy. Together these organizations are helping to set standards for early diagnosis and offering options for individualized intensive interventions. Additional TRAN members include: Agility Angels, Autism Academy of Learning, Autism Model School, Autism Society of Northwest Ohio, Bittersweet Farms, Bowling Green State University, Capable Kids, Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Mercy, Perrysburg Schools, Toledo Hearing and Speech, and the University of Toledo.
The 9,200-square-foot facility offers three early learning classrooms, a sensory playroom that uses lights, music, sound, vibrations and colors to help children and adults feel in control and comfortable; an outdoor playground, and the soon-to-be-renovated Self-Reliance Living Skills Center, which will include a completely renovated kitchen and laundry area to provide students vocational and life skills that promote independence.
"Autism requires a community-wide effort to address a family's real needs," stated Kevin Sauder of Archbold, TRAN chairman and parent of a 22-year-old son with autism. "I am encouraged how Toledo-area organizations large and small have come together to work on this huge challenge."