As Autism in New Jersey Reaches 3rd Highest Rates in Nation, Inspira Health Fills Critical Gap in Providing Diagnoses and Resources for Families

The Autism Diagnostic Center was funded by a $3 million grant from the state of New Jersey and is projected to help countless families receive critically important diagnoses.

Amelia shown here with her equine friend, Rip, who helps others with mental health and wellness therapy. (Credit: Inspira Health)

WOODBURY, N.J.--()--Inspira Health is proud to announce the opening of its new Autism Diagnostic Center (ADC) to address a critical need in Southern New Jersey. The ADC is designed to offer early testing, diagnosis, and comprehensive resources to children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) New Jersey now has the third highest rate of autism in the U.S.: 1 in 35, or 2.8 percent of 8-year-old children and 1 in 51, or 2.0 percent of 4-year-old children have Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, other than the newly established diagnostic center, few options and availability exist in South Jersey.

“There have been positive strides taken within the community to better educate and inform an understanding of ASD, however there is still a critical need for an assessment and diagnostic center to initiate services. Inspira’s new center is dedicated to evaluation and diagnosis of autism in a timely manner. This will streamline the process to appropriate interventions and support across settings,” says Megan Zold, LCSW, ASDCS, who works with patients in the center.

Inspira Health’s ADC represents a pivotal step towards nurturing the wellbeing of children with ASD and their families. Diagnostic services are also needed for adolescents and adults who have been experiencing challenges within the mental health system and are questioning their current diagnosis or experiencing barriers with current treatment,” says Kate McMullin LCSW, RPT, ASDCS.

The Autism Diagnostic Center was funded by a $3 million grant from the state of New Jersey and is projected to help countless families receive critically important diagnoses. The ADC utilizes the gold standard autism diagnostic observation schedule (ADOS2). Additionally, the ADC provides services that extend beyond diagnoses, providing community support services and case management. The center also enhances school-based teams' ability to identify ASD, potentially reducing unnecessary struggles and misdiagnoses that can fracture family support systems and lead to long-term residential care, if left untreated.

"The Autism Diagnostic Center represents an important investment in our children's futures," says State Senator Nilsa I. Cruz-Perez who was instrumental in securing the funding Inspira received from the state of New Jersey. "The opening of this center is the right response to a crucial necessity within our community for accurate ASD diagnoses and ongoing resources, ensuring that our families have the support they need close to home."

“Supporting parents in their lifelong journey of raising their children is critical— even more so when supporting parents of children with autism. Providing tangible solutions to families managing Autism Spectrum Disorder is a smart investment in the future of our State,” says Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald, who also was key in helping Inspira secure funding for the new center. “The ADC is more than a building. It represents the promise of early detection, guidance, and enduring community support for our children.”

The story of Amelia Holmes and her mother Amy underscores the importance of the new center for the community and the critical need for early intervention and care close to home. 14-year-old Amelia was only recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the ADC. After years without a clear diagnosis the New Jersey teen took it upon herself to research autism, find the center and with the help and support of her parents, seek help.

"It wasn't until Amelia educated herself about autism that our family considered that it could be a possibility," shared her mother, Amy Holmes. "We were repeatedly told she was hyperactive and anxious, yet something didn't seem right.”

After visiting the Autism Diagnostic Center, Amy felt reassured. “They gave us an incredibly thorough evaluation and diagnosis that provided us with a clearer understanding of Amelia's challenges. It was a relief to finally get a better understanding and begin to move our family toward a path of acceptance and support."

The ADC's personalized approach to diagnosis and care planning stood out for Amy. “It was the most supportive environment for us and the staff’s holistic approach made me feel like they are truly here for us,” she said. “It’s not just a ‘goodbye, here’s your diagnosis, good luck.’ It’s a long-term relationship where they support you and provide vitally important resources for your journey ahead."

“I was proud to advocate for the funding for this vitally important project last year in our state budget. I am thrilled to see this resource come to fruition and serve children and families in need, not only in our district, but across the State. A child without an autism diagnosis does not typically have access to the necessary services and therapies that will help them; and this new autism diagnostic center works to address that issue,” said Assemblyman, William F. Moen.

About Inspira Health

Inspira Health is a charitable nonprofit health care organization and a regional leader in physician training, with approximately 277 medical residents and fellows in 15 nationally accredited programs.

The system traces its roots to 1899 and comprises four medical centers, two comprehensive cancer centers, eight multi-specialty health centers, and locations throughout South Jersey. These include urgent care; outpatient imaging and rehabilitation; sleep medicine labs; cardiac testing facilities; behavioral health, digestive health and wound care centers; home care and hospice; and more than 35 primary and specialty physician practices in Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, Camden and Atlantic counties. Additionally, Inspira EMS services six South Jersey counties.

Inspira’s 1,200-member medical staff and more than 7,000 employees provide an unwavering commitment to delivering a superior patient experience at every point of the journey. Technology and innovation investments provide a robust provider directory and a range of services, including online scheduling and virtual visits for both primary and specialty care providers. With a commitment to multi-channel digital access, Inspira is able to meet consumer demand for self-service and personalized care options.

Accredited by DNV Healthcare and committed to the principles of high reliability, Inspira Health is focused on clinical excellence and patient safety. For more information about Inspira Health, visit http://www.InspiraHealthNetwork.org or call 1-800-INSPIRA.

Contacts

Red Thread PR on behalf of Inspira Health
inspirapr@redthreadpr.com

Contacts

Red Thread PR on behalf of Inspira Health
inspirapr@redthreadpr.com