Edmonton joins Toronto in expansion of network committed to improving
health and healthcare of children and youth with autism.
TORONTO, Jan. 19 /CNW/ - Autism Speaks and Autism Speaks Canada who together form North America's
largest autism science and advocacy organization, is pleased to
announce the expansion of its Autism Treatment Network to include 17
leading children's hospitals and academic medical centers in the Canada
and the U.S.
The Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (ATN) is committed to
improving the health and healthcare for children and adolescents with
autism spectrum disorders (ASD) through evidence-based research and
practice. The ATN's long range mission is to build capacity in the
community to provide all children and adolescents with ASD access to a
high quality, comprehensive and multidisciplinary care model within
their local communities. The ATN brings together the expertise of a
multidisciplinary group of over 200 practicing physicians, nurses,
specialized therapists, behavioral specialists, and clinical
researchers to develop and disseminate novel treatments, practice
guidelines and clinical tools for the wider community.
"The addition of a second ATN site in Canada speaks to the high level of
clinical and research expertise that we have in this country. We are
particularly grateful for the support of our donors, the passion of our
families, and our strong corporate and community partnerships. It is
their collective commitment to our mission, their participation at our
Walks and other fund raising events, their funding partnerships that
enable us to support the critical work done at the Canadian ATN sites,"
noted Suzanne Lanthier, Executive Director of Autism Speaks Canada.
The new Canadian ATN centre site is a partnership of the University of
Alberta/Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital (GRH) and the Stollery
Children's Hospital (SCH). The multidisciplinary Autism Follow-up
Clinic (AFC) works collaboratively with regional assessment programs at
the GRH and with community partners serving children, youth and their
families in Northern and Central Alberta. The AFC has an established
working relationship with the SCH specialists in Pediatric Sleep
Medicine, Genetics/Metabolics, Neurology, and Gastroenterology. The GRH
Autism Follow-up Clinic (AFC) has provided child and family-centered
medical follow-up for patients with ASD from the catchment area of
Northern and Central Alberta as well as the Northwest Territories
(total population over 2.5 million) for the past 15 years.
Edmonton joins the existing Toronto ATN site led by Bloorview Kids Rehab
in partnership with SickKids and Surrey Place Centre. A full range of
tertiary and quaternary medical subspecialists are easily accessible
through the Sick Kids in Toronto. The ATN Child Development teams also
work in collaboration with community agencies in the provision of
services for children and adults with ASD and their families. The
majority of subspecialist care for families enrolled in the ATN occurs
at SickKids. Care is provided through subspecialty clinics within the
hospital including, Neurology, Sleep, Metabolics, Genetics, Gynecology,
Gastroenterology, Immunology, Endocrinology, and Pain.
"The expansion of the ATN to include 17 of the leading clinical care
sites in the U.S. and Canada reflects a substantial commitment by the
healthcare community to recognizing the importance of understanding the
medical challenges that individuals with ASD face throughout their
lives," said Clara Lajonchere, Ph.D., VP of Clinical Programs for
Autism Speaks (U.S.). "The dedication and commitment of these
institutions to addressing the medical needs of our community is one of
the network's greatest assets".
The ATN Care Model has at its heart a team of specialists with
substantial experience in the diagnostic and medical evaluation and
treatment of individuals with ASD, who partner with families and
community health providers to provide care that is comprehensive and
appropriate for the family's individual needs. This multi-disciplinary
team approach includes specialists in developmental and behavioral
pediatrics, neurology, child psychiatry, psychology, gastroenterology
(GI), genetics, metabolics, and sleep disorders, as well as nurses,
other therapists, social workers and care managers, supporting care
management and coordination.
The ATN is also dedicated to continuous improvement of care with a focus
on streamlining care delivery, and the development of practice
parameters/guidelines, decision aids, and other informational tools
that can be made available to all families and clinicians, even those
not located close to an ATN site. A new parent advisory board with
representation from parents within and outside the ATN will provide
guidance to the network on network activities and strategic directions.
With a well-established research infrastructure across multiple
institutions and a large patient registry of 3200 individuals receiving
care at the ATN sites, this multidisciplinary network of experts is
uniquely positioned to also serve as a platform for cutting edge
research to facilitate the discovery of novel interventions and
The ATN sites currently provide services to approximately 22,000
families with ASD each year, and all have taken critical steps to
broaden the services available to all children in these centers as part
of their ongoing commitment to the ATN model of care. "The expansion to
17 sites marks a major development in the ATN efforts to improve care
for families with children with ASD and to bring even more clinicians
and scientists into the efforts to do the research that will answer the
questions that parents bring to doctors about their children with ASD,"
said James Perrin, M.D., pediatrician and Director of the ATN Clinical
Coordinating Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.
"The addition of a second site in Canada expands our reach in that
To learn out more about the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network and
to see a complete list of all sites, please visit www.autismspeaks.org/atn.
Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person's
ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often
accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are
diagnosed in one in 110 children in North America, affecting four times
as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism increased 57 percent
from 2002 to 2006. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in
the United States has called autism a national public health concern
whose cause and cure remain unknown.
About Autism Speaks & Autism Speaks Canada
Autism Speaks together with Autism Speaks Canada forms North America's
largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception
in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over
$142.5 million to global research initiatives through 2014 and
developing innovative new resources for families. The organization is
dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments
and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum
disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and
their families. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn
more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.
SOURCE Autism Speaks Canada
For further information:
Autism Speaks Canada
416-388-3139 - cell