Children affected by the fastest growing developmental disability in the country will soon have a new place locally to turn to for help. A $1.5-million gift from 14 local credit unions will allow All Children's Hospital to establish a comprehensive center for children with autism and related disorders.
The Autism Center at All Children's Hospital, a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, will be funded in part through this five-year gift from Tampa Bay Area Credit Unions (TBACU) for Kids. The Center will be housed in the soon-to-be-renovated Physicians Office Building on the All Children's Hospital campus, 880 Sixth St. South in St. Petersburg FL. The goal is for the Center to be fully operational in the spring of 2012.
"Providing services for children with autism spectrum disorders and their families is one of the major challenges of our times," notes All Children's Hospital President & CEO Gary Carnes. "Current statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show one in every 110 children may have an autism spectrum disorder. It is the most frequent reason children are referred to All Children's developmental and rehabilitation services for diagnosis and treatment. Autism has a significant impact on social relationships, communication, development and behavior, but it affects each child differently. Serving children with this disability is a truly individualized endeavor. Our envisioned Center brings all the elements of this individualized care to one location - something both unique and clearly needed in this area.
"This generous gift from the Tampa Bay Area Credit Unions for Kids will enable us to use the latest research in developing model assessment and treatment programs to help children with autism spectrum disorders meet their fullest potentials. We are deeply indebted to the TBACU for Kids for this substantial support."
Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union President and CEO Tom Dorety added, "The care that is given at All Children's Hospital sets a standard that TBACU's are likewise committed to - to go above and beyond for those we serve. Making an impact like this is not just something we can all feel good about - it is something that improves our community, sometimes for those who will never even realize who we are or what we do for a living. From our perspective, this represents the character of our collective efforts, not for the glory - but for the good."
The Autism Center will integrate all of the elements of care required for a child with autism: Medical, Clinical, Educational, and Family Support. Though many of these services currently are available, often multiple parties in separate locations provide them. The Autism Center brings together an interdisciplinary team focused on functional goals, helping each child to reach maximum potential, participating in school and community activities to the greatest extent possible.
Funds from the TBACU gift will be used for things such as medical, developmental, behavioral assessments and case management for children; scholarships for needy patients to receive services based on well established criteria; funding of family support groups and behavioral training, and the essential education of staff members in the assessment, case management, and treatment of autism and related disorders.
This is not the Tampa Bay Area Credit Union for Kids first gift to All Children's Hospital. TBACU for Kids recently completed a $1.5 million pledge, used to create the 28-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in the new All Children's Hospital.
Tampa Bay Area Credit Unions for Kids is an association of local credit unions who raise funds to serve the needs of seriously ill children. Participating credit unions include:
- Achieva Credit Union
- Florida Central Credit Union
- Florida West Coast Credit Union
- Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
- GTE Federal Credit Union
- MidFlorida Credit Union
- Pinellas Federal Credit Union
- PowerNet Credit Union
- Railroad and Industrial Federal Credit Union
- San Antonio Citizens Federal Credit Union
- Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union
- Tampa Bay Federal Credit Union
- Tampa Postal Federal Credit Union
- USF Federal Credit Union