• ICare4Autism

State-of-the-Art Facility at University of Florida Cuts Waiting Times for Families With Autism

For many parents of children with autism, significant delays in waiting times can prevent access to much-needed therapies and interventions. This month, the University of Florida Health opened a 15,000 square foot, $500,000 autism and neurodevelopment center to reduce waiting times for families of children on the spectrum. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center was held on Thursday, February 20. Carol Matthews, the center’s interim director, described it as a “one-stop-shop” for families to receive information and services. “Rather than going to multiple places, they can get their services here,” she said, according to a report by The new center offers a variety of programs, with a staff that includes speech language pathologists and physical therapists. The facility also features a gym with a rock-climbing wall, swings and touch pads, and rooms for research into clinical and behavioral intervention. Appreciating that many children with autism have sensory sensitivities, the facility’s waiting room even features a muted green and brown wall paint. The center has been half a year in the making. Its space was formerly occupied by a rehab facility, which relocated a year ago. Ed Jimenez, the CEO of UF Health Shands, described the facility as groundbreaking for providing so many vital services under one roof. “We will enhance the care for our patients,” Jimenez said. “We will empower families with more and more information. When we have all of these experts together that have dialogue they will create so much momentum. And there’s no question that by making things a little less stressful for families, we will enhance the patient experience.”


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