Beginning in May, Play Works will offer interdisciplinary developmental assessments for children with suspected Autism Spectrum Disorder. In partnership with Hood River native Dr. John Burton, PsyD, assessments will include observations and testing completed by a psychologist, speech-language pathologist, and occupational therapist at Play Works.
The interdisciplinary team at Play Works will provide developmental assessment for children as young as 20 months. These medical evaluations assist local families by increasing the likelihood that their child will receive early intervention treatments - crucial to the overall treatment of autism - and will be covered by most insurance plans. Research shows that early diagnosis and intervention for children with autism allows for increased outcomes in skill acquisition.
“Early detection will not only benefit the child in the family but also the community at large through reduced need for later age services in the school system. It is this sort of high community impact that drew me to the Play Works team.”
The interdisciplinary team assessment, the first of its kind in the Columbia River Gorge region, anticipates providing this service for 40 unique families this year, which directly opens access for the identified children to be supported by additional intensive therapy programming, which they would otherwise not qualify for.
“It was meaningful to learn that Dr. Burton is a Hood River native who returned to the area with the mission to bring quality mental health care to his hometown. He holds the shared values of early detection and intervention for autism, and removing barriers to access of time sensitive medical services for children and families in our rural community,” said Sarah McDonnell, Founder and Executive Director of Play Works.
“With an easy demeanor and calming presence Dr. Burton helps families feel at ease and supported as they move into uncharted territory,” said McDonnell. “He brings many years of experience of connecting with those feeling uncertain about the evaluation process.”
Parents who have concerns about their child can call 541-716-1316 to be added to the waiting list. To learn more about the developmental assessments and other services offered at Play Works, visit our services page.
If you'd like to learn more about what to expect on the day of the evaluation and how the assessment works, you can find a more thorough description here.