A Groundbreaking New Approach for
Children with Autism and their Families
Like all children, kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience the range of emotions, desires, and aspirations. But because the world around them makes so little sense, they suffer.
It shows in different ways–unusual bodily movements, repetitive behaviors, dysregulation and overreactions to sensory stimulation. Crippled by anxiety, they shut down, stifling the best efforts of their parents to connect.
The Facts Are Alarming:
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 of every 36 children has autism. That’s quadruple the rate reported in 2002, when it was 1 in 150.
- No family is immune. ASD doesn’t discriminate by race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
- Despite decades of research, there remains great uncertainty about what causes ASD. And in the U.S., we’ve made little progress in finding ways to diagnose ASD at an early age, or in knowing how best to intervene.
A Proven Success: The Israeli Model
In Israel, experts have spent decades developing a different approach to promoting the mental and social development of children on the autism spectrum, with results that have garnered worldwide attention. Building on a psychoanalytic model originally developed in England, the approach:
- Employs a trained psychoanalyst who, through frequent contact, connects with the child’s inner experience, enters their world and alleviates the anxieties that have caused them to withdraw.
- Brings in an interdisciplinary team tailored to the child’s needs–including language and speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and group work to develop social and interpersonal skills, all informed by the insights obtained by the psychoanalyst.
- Works closely with educators, pediatricians, and–most of all–family members, teaching them strategies to assist the child in understanding their surroundings, expressing themselves, and establishing meaningful relationships.
Establishing Vista as a World Leader
Joshua Durban, the internationally renowned child and adult psychoanalyst who has been at the forefront of this successful model, is bringing this approach to the U.S.–and it’s all happening at Vista. “The Child at the Center: An Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment Unit” will position Vista Del Mar as a preeminent autism service provider and educational resource in North America.
The center will kick off with a three-year demonstration project that will adopt the Israeli model in serving 20 ASD children, ages 1-7, along with their families. Intervening at such a young age will maximize the chances for success. Special attention will be paid to reaching traditionally underserved communities for whom accessing services has been especially difficult.
There is no “cure” for autism, nor does there need to be. From Mozart to Oppenheimer, history is replete with neurodiverse individuals among our most prominent artists, scientists, and intellectuals. Rather than changing the child, Durban’s groundbreaking approach helps them realize their full potential and thrive within their families, communities, and society–their way!