MARCH 26, 2012 -- Mercy Children's Therapy and Development Center has opened the Mercy Autism Center, which began offering services to families this month.
The center, located in Creve Coeur, now offers diagnostic and assessment services for individuals suspected of having an autism spectrum disorder.
"There's a waiting list everywhere for people seeking a diagnosis," said Gretchen Meyer, neurodevelopmental pediatrician with Mercy Children's Hospital. As communities struggle to meet the needs of children with autism, Meyer said it's not unheard of for reputable autism centers to have wait lists up to 18 months long. She hopes the diagnostic services provided by the autism center will help area families get the information they need in a more timely manner.
In addition to diagnostics, the center also offers a medical consultation program for children who are also suspected of having nutrition disorders, complex behavior disorders and sleep disorders. Mercy Children's Therapy and Development Center also operates Intensive Early Intervention Program, offering therapy and treatment for children 18-36 months who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
For more information about the development center and autism services, call 314-872-3345. The center is located at 645 S. New Ballas, Creve Coeur, Mo., 63141.
Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness
The opening of this new autism center comes just a month shy of World Autism Awareness Day and Light It Up Blue on April 2. Several St. Louis area buildings and landmarks will be lit up with blue lights to raise awareness for autism. Participating buildings include: Saint Louis Zoo pylon, Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, Civil Courts Building, Lumiere Place, Maryland Park West (Clayton), Metro Lighting, Slavin Building (Clayton) and St. Frances Xavier Catholic Church. You can light up your own home on April 2. Blue light bulbs are on sale at area Home Depots. A portion of the sale of these light bulbs will benefit Autism Speaks.
Autism spectrum disorders refer to a group of complex disorders of brain development often characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors, according to Autism Speaks. One in 110 children are affected by an autism spectrum disorder.
Pictured: Dr. Gretchen Meyer is one of the physicians at Mercy Autism Center. Photo courtesy of Mercy Children's Hospital.