ATLANTA (Feb. 23, 2015) – The Autism Center at Hospital for Special Care’s (HSC) patient-centered specialty practice for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was among six programs from across the nation named a Program of Promise through the Hospital Charitable Services Awards, a national program sponsored by Jackson Healthcare. 

The Autism Center at HSC opened in 2012 in response to the documented growing unmet needs of youth living with ASD.   The center, in partnership with University of Saint Joseph, provides a variety of diagnostic, assessment and consulting services for children and adolescents with ASD.  Since opening, The Autism Center at HSC has seen more than 340 children since opening in 2012 and continues to have a significant waiting list.  

The center’s multidisciplinary approach includes psychology, developmental pediatrics, speech therapy, occupational therapy, child psychiatry and care coordination.  The goal of the center is to:

  • Understand a family’s concern about their child

Determine if a child has an autism spectrum disorder, confirm a prior diagnosis or understand current challenges associated with an autism spectrum disorder

  • Communicate findings and recommendations clearly and in partnership with families

The center also provides evaluations that are individualized for each child.  All evaluations include:

  • Detailed history and review of records
  • Autism specific evaluation tools and questionnaires
  • Medical work-ups

Additional assessment may include:

  • Psycho-educational and developmental assessments
  • Assessments of adaptive functioning
  • Observations of the child in other settings such as at home or school

Behavior analysis, performed by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst including assessment of the function of, and alternatives to, behaviors that interfere with learning (including repetitive and stereotyped behaviors, aggression, and self-injury), and the design of individualized programs to accelerate mastery of adaptive behaviors and functional academic skills (including joint attention, communication, self-help, behavior regulation, learning readiness, and others).

HSC’s leadership and its Community Advisors Group have recognized that the average parent cannot know all of the options for their child as well as how and when to seek their support. The need for timeliness of information, coordination of various services and critical support has led to the commitment to become an Autism patient-centered specialty practice for children with ASD. 

Each of the six programs was recognized as early-stage hospital-sponsored programs with a clear vision for addressing underserved community health needs. At a banquet that was the culmination of the National Hospital Charitable Services Conference, each winning program was presented with a monetary investment toward the growth of the program.

“These initiatives are not alone in giving back to their communities,” said Charles R. Evans, FACHE, chairman of the Hospital Charitable Services Awards program. “What makes each Program of Promise unique is their potential to impact their community in a very specific and sustainable way.”

Jackson Healthcare instituted the Hospital Charitable Services Awards program in 2010 to identify high-impact community health programs, share their stories and offer them as models for other communities to replicate.

This year’s six Programs of Promise were selected from a pool of 208 nominees. Each nominee had to demonstrate excellence in the following five criteria areas: community impact, innovation, collaboration, transferability and best practice.

Hospital for Special Care (HSC) Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Lynn Ricci with HSC Vice President, Corporate and Donor Relations Carl Ficks accepts the “Programs of Promise” award on behalf of The Autism Center at HSC during Jackson Healthcare's 2015 Hospital Charitable Services Conference in Atlanta, Feb. 5, 2015.  HSC was selected as one of six recipients for the award out of 208 applicants nationwide. The award goes to healthcare programs that have a clear vision for addressing underserved community health needs and demonstrate excellence in, among other things, community impact, innovation and leading practice. 

About the Hospital Charitable Services Awards

The Hospital Charitable Services Awards is a national program sponsored by Jackson Healthcare.  It recognizes hospitals whose commitment to their community - whether defined locally, regionally, nationally or globally - goes beyond "community benefit" and "free care" and has led to innovative efforts to improve community health and increase access to healthcare education and services.  All hospital-funded charitable programs are eligible to participate regardless of the size, tax or ownership model. Learn more at