By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - SPIN has teamed up with Philadelphia's Community Behavioral Health to open up an Autism Center for Excellence. It's the only outpatient center serving Northeast Philadelphia.
"Autism is a rapidly increasing disability," says Annemarie Clarke, the Behavioral Health Corporate Officer at SPIN. She says her group joined forces with Northeast Treatment Centers to create the SPIN-NET Philadelphia Autism Center of Excellence, which provides treatment space for children on the autism spectrum between the ages of two and 21. She says the outpatient center, which has interactive playrooms for children and spaces for counselors.
"Right now one in 88 children being born will be diagnosed as having autism, so it's something that's happening at a scope that qualifies it as a medical emergency. So there's a very pressing need."
Clarke says SPIN took in more than 160 children with autism since July of this year. She says the uptick in autism cases in our area is largely due to better reach in poor and underserved communities.
"In linguistically and culturally diverse communities we have not done a great job identifying children in those areas," she says. "One of the things we feel especially proud of as is that we've brought on some bilingual staff."
The autism center has a staff of 30 and has room to expand.
Clarke says SPIN-NET accepts Medicaid and all commercial insurance. For more info, go to spininc.org.
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