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Geisinger marks Autism Awareness Month | Healthwatch 16

Geisinger's Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute has provided care for more than 10,000 patients, and that number continues to grow.

LEWISBURG, Pa. — According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1% of the world's population has Autism Spectrum Disorder.  

April is Autism Awareness Month, and Geisinger is recognizing that with the 10th anniversary of its Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute. 

"We went from having two developmental pediatricians ten years ago to now a team of close to 80 individuals both in research and clinical care," said Dr. Christa Martin, Geisinger Chief Scientific Officer.

Geisinger has two Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute locations in the Lewisburg and Forty Fort areas.

Both sites provide clinical care for people with autism, and services are directed toward children.  

Dr. Martin says they opened to fill a growing need. 

"The waitlist went from over a year and a half to now just a couple of months and sometimes even sooner than that," Dr. Martin said.

The institute continues to grow and expand. 

"It's typical for us to get around 50 new patients referred per week," said Dr. Martin.

The institute incorporates genetic testing into patients' care. 

"I think that is a unique aspect at Geisinger, particularly with our research focused around that, that over time we hope our scientific discoveries lead to improved treatments and therapies in this patient population," Dr. Martain said.

The Autism Developmental Medicine Institute also uses devices like iPads to help patients with communication.  

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