St. Joseph's Provides Unique Support for Children with Autism

Dr. Joseph Holahan, Chief of the Child Development Center at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, explains how the Center is helping children diagnosed on the autism spectrum and their families find support and learn behavioral skills.

11/1/16 #1915






"Welcome to One on One, I'm Steve Adubato. It is my honor and pleasure to introduce one of the nation's leaders when it comes to the field of autism. He is Doctor Joseph Holahan, and he is the chief of the Child Development Center at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center. Good to see you doctor. Nice to meet you too. You told me that you got into this field thirty seven years ago? Yes. And real quick, you, me, that in another conversation you and your wife...? We met in medical school, we both went into pediatrics. I was drafted into the army, and she joined with me. And we were privileged to do pediatrics. We worked as general pediatricians. And we learned about a whole component of pediatrics, developmental medicine, that we kinda fell in love with. We also realized what a desperate need there was for families to identify the problems their children were experiencing to connect those children with services and to help them to be successful in the long run. Doctor, for those who do not know what autism is, describe it. Or the so called spectrum. The autism spectrum is a condition in which children have two really primary concerns, problems with communicating, and problems with social interaction and social participation. Is it either/or? Both? It's both. It's both and usually there are repetitive behaviors and kind of a desire to maintain sameness in their lives, routines that they're comfortable with, but quite pronounced sometimes. How often do you find that, because I know that early detection is important for treatment. Absolutely. And finding ways to be helpful for children. How challenging is it dealing with parents who potentially sometimes are resistant to a meaningful, candid discussion about what the possibilities that their child is dealing with autism? Yeah I know. You know, I think we appreciate that when we're working with a child, it's the most precious thing in the world to those parents, and it's very difficult for them sometimes to accept that there's something that may not be perfect with their child. And sometimes in the beginning they may not, they may not accept the diagnosis, but usually they will accept interventions and resources and work to help their children, their child, to be more successful. Describe the work of the center, the center is called? The Binder Autism Center within the Child Development Center at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital. Break down that work. We have a team of developmental pediatricians, pediatricians who's main responsibility is to evaluate children with learning behavior, developmental communication concerns, and identify more precisely what the concern is, and help connect those children with the services they need to be successful in the long run..."