Autism Services

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined as a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. In 2019, the CDC announced that one child in every 59 children in America has Autism Spectrum Disorder. If your child is one in 59, you can take heart in knowing that  Emerge is here with the compassion and resources to help.

At The Emerge Center, we believe that an early intervention, multidisciplinary approach is the difference. Our Autism Programs are designed specifically for younger children, ages 18 months to 7 years and based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). This is the most widely supported evidence-based treatment approach for establishing language, self-help skills, social skills and reducing maladaptive behavior.

Additionally, our Autism Program provides a one-stop shop for all of your child’s therapeutic services, from highly trained psychologists to provide diagnostic evaluations for autism and related disorders to intensive therapy programs, including:

-Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
-Group Speech-Language Therapy (our Foundation Program)
-Individual Speech Therapy
-Occupational Therapy

Your child’s therapy program is developed and supervised by highly trained, licensed professionals. The Emerge Center is designed to provide comprehensive services for your child and your family.

Children in the Autism Program may also receive Speech-Language Therapy in a group or individual format. Our speech-language therapists have extensive experience working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Our Foundation Program is Group Speech-Language Therapy that provides children with a learning environment similar to a preschool classroom. Class routines and activities are followed each session and children work on appropriate social, play and self-help skills. Additional behavioral support is provided from licensed behavior analysts in the group speech therapy setting as needed.

Individual Speech-Language Therapy is also available for children in our Autism Programs who could benefit from one-on-one treatment.

Occupational Therapy is available for children with sensory-motor or other delays. Available within the Foundation Program classroom or in individual sessions, our occupational therapists will work with your child to address sensory-motor issues, including feeding and activities of daily living.

Some behaviors generally associated with an Autism Spectrum Disorder include:

-Not responding to his/her name
-Poor eye contact
-Missed or delayed communication milestones
-Problems interacting with peers
-Not following simple instructions
-Lack of interest in other children or trouble making friends
-Prefers to play alone or away from other children
-Problems transitioning between activities
-Difficulty going to sleep and staying asleep
-Difficulty in school or daycare
-Extremely picky eater/ Significant food selectivity
-Aggression toward others

If your child demonstrates any combination of these behaviors, it’s crucial that he or she is seen by a medical professional. Our licensed psychologists are available to conduct comprehensive Autism Evaluations.

It is generally recognized that early, intensive and sustained intervention emphasizing communication and socialization is needed for children with Autism. One component of our early intervention program is therapy based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

The focus for the program is on strengthening the fundamentals and providing individualized attention to your child’s specific needs. Our Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) will review your child’s initial intake assessment, determine those areas where he or she needs help, then develop a detailed plan specific to your child, to help him/her achieve and grow. One-on-one and small group ABA is implemented by our trained Registered Line Technicians, who work under the direct supervision of our licensed professionals.

Our therapists work with your child on such skills as:

-Requesting preferred items or activities appropriately
-Labeling objects and activities
-Following directions and paying attention
-Toilet training and other activities of daily living
-Managing problem behaviors including aggression, self-injury and noncompliance
-Eating a wider variety of foods

Research shows that the earlier you can treat a child who has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the more progress you will see. Parents are usually referred to The Emerge Center by either a neurologist or pediatrician, though some parents have approached us directly. Generally, there is a concern about communication or social interaction. It is easy for parents to confuse ADHD or Asperger’s with Autism, therefore it is important that you have your child evaluated at the first sign of concern.

A Three-Step Process For Getting To Know Your Child

We follow a thorough evaluation process for diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder. This will provide us with valuable insights into areas such as your child’s language skills, adaptive behaviors (self-help skills such as feeding, dressing, etc.) and social behaviors (making friends, interacting with others, playing with toys).

Assessments
Our assessments are comprehensive and can include:

  • -Parent reports – Your thoughts on your child’s behavior and concerns you may have.
  • -Observations by our staff.
  • -Testing of your child.
  • -Teacher and caregiver reports.

Our goal is to collect as much information from as many people as possible who interact with your child on a regular basis. This information helps ensure a more accurate diagnosis.

Testing

We offer the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) to get a clearer picture of how your child processes various types of information. We also offer additional testing through our Behavioral Services department.

Step One: The Intake Interview

The first step in our autism evaluations is the intake interview. This will help us gain a more comprehensive understanding of your child’s history, what challenges he or she may be struggling with and other related issues.

During this interview, we’re going to look at your child’s abilities in these key areas:

  • Language – Where your child is now regarding language usage in comparison to where he or she should be.
  • Adaptive behaviors – How are his or her self-help skills like feeding, dressing and related activities?
  • Social behaviors – How does your child do when it comes to behaviors such as making friends, interacting with others and playing with toys?

What You Can Expect
Our interview will last approximately one hour and generally takes place in one of our meeting rooms. We will meet with just you and other family members. We do this so that our conversation can be open and the family is comfortable with sharing details and observations. Our goal is to get as much background information as possible.

For this meeting, please bring your child’s medical records, medical tests, academic records, and any previous evaluations.

Step Two: The Evaluation

Once we’ve had an opportunity to review all the information from the intake interview, we may then set up a formal evaluation of your child.

What You Can Expect
The meeting will take approximately one hour, and will include your child as well as immediate family members. Observations from the intake interview will be discussed. What was learned from reviewing your child’s records and tests will also be discussed. We’ll ask any additional questions that we might have. We’ll observe your child’s communicative and social skills in a play setting.

Assessment and Planning
Because every child is unique, it’s difficult to predict the extent of testing that will be necessary. We may think only a few certain tests need to be performed, only to discover that more extensive testing is needed to get the full picture.

Step Three: The Final Diagnosis

In the final meeting, you will be provided with a detailed report explaining the testing that was performed and summarizing the various interviews. We will also take the time necessary to answer any questions you may have. You may be given a diagnosis at this time. This information can be shared with other health providers if further treatment is needed or with your child’s school for educational planning purposes. There are various therapeutic options available, and we will design a treatment plan that works best for your child.

To schedule an Autism evaluation or get more information about our program, please contact us at (225) 343-4232.

What separates The Emerge Center from your other options in Baton Rouge is our unique approach to therapy. Our inter-disciplinary team includes licensed Psychologists, Licensed and Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), Speech-Language Pathologists, and Occupational Therapists, along with trained Registered Line Technicians. By working with all or part of our team, your child will have a customized treatment program developed specifically for him/her, rooted in evidence-based research that addressed your child’s individual needs.

An Overview Of Our Therapy Program

Children in our Autism Programs are enrolled in our Children’s Development Center, which provides a “one-stop-shop” for many therapies. All children in an Autism Program receive one-on-one Verbal Behavior therapy based in principals of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), as well as Group Speech-Language Therapy through our Foundation Program, to establish and promote appropriate language development, early academic and social skills. Additional services are available depending on the child’s need, including Individual Speech Therapy for one-on-one help with language, and Occupational Therapy  to work on sensory-motor skills and help your child master his/her environment.

This format allows for constant collaboration between clinical staff, to better treat the whole child. Data on all treatment programs is collected daily, which allows us to make informed data-based decisions on a day-to-day basis. Our program also minimizes travel demands and stress on family and caregivers.

Autism Program staff also periodically provides parent and caregiver workshops, addressing areas such as:

-Toilet training
-Behavior management
-Feeding
-Incorporating Therapy into Daily Life
-Basics of ABA and Language Development

Our Programs For Children With Autism

Admission to the Emerge Autism Programs begins with an ABA Consultation with a Licensed Behavior Analyst. The ABA Consult is offered to each child and their family and provides an opportunity to meet with a professional trained to assess communications and social skills. Each of these areas will be assessed through direct testing (if appropriate), observation, and caregiver or parent report during the ABA Consult. This information is used to determine if ABA Will be a good fit for your child. Program recommendations are based on your child’s age, presenting concerns, staff availability, and clinical judgement.

Transdisciplinary Autism Program (TAP)
TAP provides services to children who need group speech-language therapy and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy.  In addition, children in this program may receive individual occupational and speech-language therapy as needed.  The primary focus of this program is to increase communication and build social interaction and communication skills in a group setting.  Children must be between the ages of two and five upon entering the program.  Individual schedules vary depending upon age and placement.

Bloom Program
The Bloom Program is designed to actively incorporate multiple therapies (i.e., Applied Behavior Analysis, occupational therapy and speech-language therapy) throughout a child’s day.  This program serves children who are between the ages of three and five who would benefit from a full-time therapeutic program, require all three therapies, and are ready to work on group learning and transition skills. This program begins in August and runs for a full year. Learn more about Bloom.