Apr 27, 2021 Children’s Specialized Hospital Launches Unique Programs addressing Severe Behavior and Severe Feeding Problems in Children with Autism

Intensive and highly specialized services to be offered at new Somerset location

New Brunswick, NJ – Children’s Specialized Hospital (CSH), an RWJBarnabas Health facility, is proud to announce two new groundbreaking programs for children in New Jersey– the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program and the CSH RUCARES, Severe Behavior Program, located at a new facility on Easton Avenue in Somerset.

The Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program, an expansion of CSH’s comprehensive feeding program, serves infants, children, and adolescents with moderate to severe feeding problems who have not made progress in traditional outpatient feeding therapy. The new intensive outpatient program uses a scientific, data-based approach to assess and treat children with feeding disorders. The aim of assessment is to identify the factors that contribute to or cause the child’s feeding problem. Clinicians use the results of assessment to individualize treatment for each child. Children attend the day-treatment program Monday through Friday for about six to twelve weeks. Caregiver participation and training is a critical part of the program. The child and family participate in outpatient follow-up after the child graduates from the day-treatment program. The aim of outpatient follow-up is to progress the child to age- or developmentally typical feeding.

“We provide cutting-edge assessment and treatment based on the latest scientific research,” said Cathleen C. Piazza, PhD, Director, CSH Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program and professor, Rutgers University, Department of Applied Psychology, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology. “This approach is highly successful and children enrolled in programs like this meet 90% of their treatment goals.”

Also at the same location is CSH RUCARES, a collaborative effort with Rutgers University and the Rutgers University Center for Autism Research, Education and Services (RUCARES) at the Brain Health Institute (BHI). Together CSH RUCARES and RUCARES are the first centers of their kind in New Jersey dedicated to innovative research, education, and services. CSH RUCARES focuses on diagnosing, treating, and supporting children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). RUCARES will address individuals with ASD of all ages, including adults. The collaboration provides the opportunity to partner on care and research for those with ASD with significantly challenging behaviors throughout their lifespan.

The Severe Behavior Program, a service line of CSH RUCARES, provides intensive and highly specialized services to children and adolescents with ASD and other developmental disabilities who display dangerous behavior such as aggression, self-injury, property destruction and pica that pose a significant risk to self, others, or the environment and who cannot be safely managed or effectively treated in a less-intensive program.

The CSH RUCARES Severe Behavior Program works to improve the quality of life for children with severe behavior disorders and their families and offers services including evaluation, outpatient, half-day and full-treatment programs as well as parent training. Each child moves through the program based on their individual needs and all therapy sessions are overseen by a board-certified behavior analyst at the doctoral level (BCBA-D) or a psychologist with specialty training in applied behavior analysis. During therapy sessions, techniques are used to identify environmental variables that may be contributing to the behavior problem. In addition, a specialized therapeutic environment is used to allow for safe evaluation of dangerous behaviors.

“The goal-oriented and scientifically supported approaches used in these expanded services are designed to increase positive outcomes for the most complex cases,” said Wayne Fisher, PhD, BCBA-D, Director, Rutgers Center for Autism Research, Education and Services (RUCARES) at the Brain Health Institute and CSH RUCARES, and the Henry Rutgers Endowed Professor of Pediatrics, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “Our exceptional clinical team is dedicated to helping children maximize their potential while providing support and education to families to provide a full continuum of care.”

For more information on the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program visit rwjbh.org/cshpediatricfeedingdisorders.

For more information on the CSH RUCARES Severe Behavior Program please visit rwjbh.org/cshseverebehaviorprogram.

About Children’s Specialized Hospital

Children’s Specialized Hospital, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, is the nation’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children and young adults from birth to 21 years of age facing special health care challenges – from chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities like brain and spinal cord injuries, to a full scope of developmental, behavioral, and mental health concerns. At 14 different New Jersey locations, our pediatric specialists partner with families to make our many innovative therapies and medical treatments more personalized and effective so each child can reach their full potential. For more information, visit rwjbh.org/childrensspecialized.

About Rutgers and Brain Health Institute

Rutgers is a leader in basic, clinical, and translational autism research with more than 50 principal investigators working to advance autism treatment and resources. Rutgers faculty and students also work closely with the autism community in New Jersey, providing professional training, educational intervention and support services through GSAPP’s Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center, College Support Program for students on the autism spectrum and the newly created Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services. Rutgers’ Boggs Center, as New Jersey’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, also plays a key role in developing policy and performing public outreach. Rutgers also leads autism efforts across New Jersey via the recently awarded New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence.

The Brain Health Institute (BHI) is home for Rutgers’ overall neuroscience initiative and is a growing interdisciplinary institute that includes more than 250 principal investigators. The institute creates research programs focused on the biological underpinnings of brain function and dysfunction, develops treatments for brain disorders and educates the public, clinicians, faculty, students and state, national, and international officials. For more information, visit https://brainhealthinstitute.rutgers.edu/.