University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Neb.

My name is Wayne Fisher and I am the director for the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders here at the Monroe-Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Within the center we have three major clinical programs. Our autism diagnostic clinic is a unique interdisciplinary approach to evaluating children on the autism spectrum. The children are seen by a geneticist, a psychologist, an educational specialist and a speech pathologist -- all to clarify the diagnosis, figure out what else needs to be done in terms of assessments and also to recommend effective treatment.

Our early intervention program uses a highly structured approach based on the principles of applied behavior analysis and the latest research and is focused on providing young children with a jumpstart to help them be successful at home and at school.

We also have a severe behavior program designed to treat those individuals who have severe destructive behavior, aggression, self-injury, property destruction, that sort of thing. And our treatment programs are all based on research-validated procedures.

We also collaborate with other professionals across the medical center to provide services for children with autism. For example, we have a joint clinic with Dr. Cynthia Ellis, who is a developmental pediatrician with expertise in pharmacological management of autism. And we can often, either use less medication, or use a less intrusive behavioral intervention when we work in a collaborative and systematic manner.

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