Devereux, a leading national nonprofit behavioral healthcare organization, joins millions of individuals around the globe in observing World Autism Awareness Day, a day designated by the United Nations General Assembly as a day “to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of children and adults who are affected by autism, so they can lead full and meaningful lives.”
“We are extremely encouraged by the growth in awareness of autism spectrum disorder, both in the United States, and internationally,” said Todd Harris, Ph.D., Devereux Director of Autism Services. “What is even more promising is a growing commitment on the part of legislators, government agencies and community partners to shed light on the important challenges facing people with autism and their families, issues like employment disparity,” said Harris.
Autism awareness is not new at Devereux. We have served children and adults on the autism spectrum for more than 60 years having done some of the early pioneering work in identifying the disorder at our Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services. Devereux’s autism services support children, adults and their families in a variety of capacities, using evidence-based strategies and applied behavior analysis (ABA). At multiple centers across our national network, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas, Devereux provides residential services, day programs for adults, and community-based services including assessment and diagnostic services, Approved Private Schools, school and family consultation, and transition and employment services.
Devereux also operates some of the nation’s best practice specialty programs supporting children and adults with autism, such as Short-Term Autism Intensive Residential Services (STAIRS) in Pennsylvania, a program designed specifically for children with severe behavioral challenges and skills deficits who have not responded to treatment in traditional community-based or residential settings. Devereux also offers assessment and diagnostic services at our center in Massachusetts, and now in Pennsylvania, too. “My hope is that with greater general autism awareness, we can now turn to building education and awareness of the importance of both early intervention services and transition services,” says Harris.
Arguably, the stages of life most critical to individuals and families living with autism are at the time of diagnosis and when they turn 21, the moment when funding stops for many individuals. “It’s a critical issue for individuals and their families, making that transition to adulthood,” says Harris. “It’s good to see institutions like the U.N. drawing attention to employment for people with autism.” This year’s World Autism Awareness Day theme is Employment: The Autism Advantage.
To learn more about Devereux’s continuum of care visit devereux.org.
To learn more about Devereux Arizona's programs supporting individuals with autism visit devereuxarizona.org.