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Upstate Medical University Adds Center For Children With Special Needs

John Smith

Upstate Medical University is expanding its offerings for children with autism that combines medical and behavioral care in an effort to streamline the process of diagnosis and treatment. The Golisano Center for Special Needs opened recently after a $3 million gift from Paychex Founder Tom Golisano.

Executive Director Dr. Henry Roane says providers will work together to determine what a child needs before they even arrive.

“We look at the packet of new referrals that have come in from the previous week and from that determine the track that this child would need and then allocate children to each track,” Roane said. “They don’t necessarily stay there, a new need may arise or something we didn’t catch in the paperwork, but generally it allows up to place children into different care tracks.”

He adds that children can move through the system more quickly as a result and Upstate’s research center for children with autism is an opportunity to collaborate. The program is bringing together developmental pediatric services, treatment and clinic based services under one roof.

“Our group has a number of grants and research projects related to the care of individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities, as well as children with physical disabilities,” he said.

Roane’s team also has grants to assist children with dealing with mental diseases and helps with kids who have tantrums or show aggressive behavior. Some of the in-home care services include speech therapy and occupational therapy.

The center has cut down on the average wait time to book appointments from nearly 190 days to 54 days and has seen a 55 percent increase of monthly referrals.

It’s a first-of-its-kind in the region and provides Syracuse and Central New York with resources previously only available in larger metropolitan areas, Roane said.

We now have something here that’s a miniature version of what John’s Hopkins has or what Emory University has. It’s a miniature version because we’re a smaller community but the depth and variety of services we now offer make us really unique,” he said.