The Autism Center of The Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart offers a range of services for children on the autism spectrum, all with a family-centered approach to learning. Research shows, and we strongly support, that family involvement makes an enormous impact on the effectiveness of a child's treatment.
Providing Services to All
Our services include:
- Direct, individualized Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. ABA is a research-based, systematic method for improving socially significant skills and behaviors.
- Parent instruction and hands-on training
- Social skills groups for various ages
- Group training for families and professionals
Focusing on Family-Centered Care
At The Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart, we understand that each family has unique needs, and we strongly encourage you to be an active participant in your child’s therapy sessions. You are a valued member of your child’s care team, and your input regarding your child’s goals and treatment is a valued and necessary component of our services.
We also understand families need help and support in order to improve their child’s behavior, communication and social skills. To help your child succeed and to support you along this journey, we offer parent-training classes, individual consultation and hands-on instruction to maximize progress and achieve more significant gains.
Partnering with Local Resources
Collaboration is important to us. We coordinate with your child’s teachers, physicians, therapists and additional family members in order to help your child achieve maximum progress. We also partner with the University of West Florida, CARD, Autism Pensacola, Inc., Early Steps and the local school districts.
As an official practicum site for interns in the University of West Florida’s Master’s-Level ABA program, we are academically focused and leading our field using the latest research and best practices for our patients. Students conduct research, connect the latest research to practice and gain hands-on feedback from our experienced board-certified Behavior Analysts. Individualized data is monitored regularly by our leaders, and changes and adjustments are made according to specific protocols and feedback.
Setting the Standard for Autism Intervention
Our mission is to be recognized as a center of excellence, so our team sets standards far above those required by both insurance companies and the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
Our strategies are based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA uses scientifically validated principles, such as motivation, reinforcement and prompting to improve important behaviors. That means increasing skills we want to see while eliminating or decreasing those that interfere with learning and the ability to develop new skills. Every member of our staff receives extensive training on these techniques. We have expertise in Verbal Behavior, a specialized type of ABA that focuses on the use of language and communication skills.
We are constantly reviewing the latest research in order to provide the most effective strategies for your child. To keep on the cutting-edge of autism treatment, members of our staff teach Master’s-level coursework in ABA, collaborate with university professors, consult with expert behavior analysts in the field, attend national conferences and trainings and pursue additional degrees and certifications.
Endorsing ABA Therapy
In June 2012, Dr. Vera Tait, an associate executive director with the American Academy of Pediatrics, publicly endorsed the use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) treatments:
“The effectiveness of ABA-based interventions in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) has been well-documented through a long history of research in university and community settings,” Tait said. “Children who receive early intensive behavioral treatment have been shown to make substantial gains in cognition, language, academic performance, and adaptive behavior as well as some measures of social behavior, and their outcomes have been significantly better than those of children in control groups.”
“In short, though more research is needed, ABA has both long-term empirical and research data to demonstrate its effectiveness in helping children who are diagnosed with ASD, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed the use of ABA treatments when determined appropriate by physicians within a medical home, in close consultation with families.”
For more information on services offered at the Autism Center or to schedule an appointment, please call our office at 850-416-4681.
A referral from your pediatrician or primary care physician is required. Please ask your child’s physician to fax a referral form and script to 850-416-5223.
The Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart
Seton Office Park
5190 Bayou Blvd., Bldg. 2
Pensacola, FL 32503
The Autism Center is located in Seton Office Park, the entrance to which is off Bayou Blvd. At the traffic light across from the movie theatre, turn towards the Ronald McDonald House and Sacred Heart Hospital campus. Take your first left into Seton Office Park, and turn right into the parking lot. The Autism Center will be the second building on the right. Please park in the lot outside of the building.