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Miami: Children's hospital gets 'autism-friendly' certification


On June 27, 2023, the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD), South Florida’s leading resource for autism support, recognized Nicklaus Children’s Hospital as its newest “Autism Friendly Partner” as part of the organization’s initiative to create more inclusive places in the community for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families.

Nicklaus Children’s Adaptive Care Program team was in attendance to accept the designation, alongside leadership from UM-NSU CARD and a family whose son, diagnosed with Autism, went through the hospital’s Adaptive Care Program.

Nicklaus Children’s Adaptive Care Program, which supports children on the spectrum as well as those with other behavioral or developmental needs while hospitalized, works with families to understand the individual needs and preferences of neurodiverse patients, and helps devise strategies to improve the patient experience.

“We are extremely proud of our collaboration with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and their dedication to becoming an `Autism Friendly’ partner,” said Dr. Michael Alessandri, Executive Director of UM-NSU CARD. “Our UM-NSU CARD Autism Friendly Initiative is aimed at creating more inclusive places in our community for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and related disabilities and their family members. These collaborations with healthcare facilities, museums, airports, arts centers, among others, benefit the businesses as well. When families feel welcomed and accepted, businesses grow in important ways and our communities are stronger for it.”…

The UM-NSU CARD team provided specialized training and consultation on how to appropriately outfit and utilize a sensory friendly room, the need to create an internal system for identifying and supporting neurodiverse patients in the hospital, and the importance of adopting a proactive and client-centered approach to supporting patients with significant behavioral needs.

“At Nicklaus Children’s, we are committed to creating an optimal care environment for the children of South Florida,” said Matthew A. Love, President and CEO of Nicklaus Children’s Health System, parent organization of the hospital. “Thanks to a team of expert clinicians and generous support from The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation, our Adaptive Care Program is enhancing the safety and comfort of the inpatient environment for neurodivergent patients and their families. We are honored to receive the ‘Autism Friendly’ designation as a reflection of our dedication to creating a supportive and inclusive care environment. It is one more example of why Nicklaus Children’s is the hospital ‘where your child matters most.’”…


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