autism feature, three kids

About the South Carolina Autism Treatment Network

Both national and South Carolina studies indicate that the prevalence of ASDs is 1/88, more specifically 1/54 males and 1/252 females (MMWR 2012).  Recent studies indicate, however, that much work remains in educating physicians to recognize and care for ASD patients. A recent CDC study found parents reported concerns about their child’s development before three years of age but the median age at diagnosis in South Carolina of ASDs was over 5 years of age (MMWR 2009).  Given the benefit of early intervention (National Research Council, 2001), identification , screening, and referral of children and adolescents suspected of having an ASD at an earlier age will lead to better short and long term outcomes.

The primary goal of the South Carolina Autism Treatment Network (SCATN) has been to develop a provider network of pediatricians willing to give medical care for children with autism. These physicians are supported by a core of autism spectrum disorders specialists based at the USC School of Medicine and the Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center. The pediatricians identified by the project are provided with specialized training with an emphasis on early screening and given special access to a team of autism specialists to help them provide medical homes across the state both before and after diagnosis to fulfill a critical need of families desperate for care of their children with autism.  Pediatricians are given computers with videoconferencing capability.  They receive monthly clinical updates on evidence based screening and treatment of individuals with an ASD.  There is a monthly schedule for videoconferencing.  One week of the month is for behavioral consultation, one week for psychopharmacologic consultation, one week for genetic consultation and one week for assessment and diagnostic consultation. 

The Columbia ASD specialist team is comprised of:  Alicia Hall, Ph.D.; Harry Wright, M.D.; Ruth Abramson, Ph.D.; Alex Getz, M.D.  (USC School of Medicine, Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) and Shelly Brigman, M.D. (Carolina Developmental Clinic).  This team provides consultation for behavioral, psychopharmacologic and genetic questions.  The Greenville ASD specialist team consists of Desmond Kelly, M.D. and Anne Kinsman, Ph.D. (USC SOM-Greenville).  They provide consultation for assessment and diagnostic questions.  The Charleston ASD specialist is Jane Charles, M.D. (Medical University of South Carolina).