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South Bend, IN: Families already seeking places in new residential facility for children with autism

July 28, 2018, South Bend (IN) Tribune: Kids with autism could find residential care in South Bend Joshua Smith is getting calls from families in other states. He said it points to the need — not just here, but in the Midwest — for the residential care that his company would provide for kids with autism and other developmental and intellectual disabilities. The beds haven’t even opened, said Smith, who’s CEO of the for-profit firm Riverbend Behavioral Health. In January, it began a small school and outpatient therapy center for autism in the same three-story building, the former Madison Center Children’s Hospital at 701 N. Niles Ave. … It would serve ages 6-21 when their behavior becomes too difficult for their families to manage — or when they are a danger to others or themselves, Smith said. Youths would stay an average of 90 to 180 days, though it could be more or fewer, while both the youth and family learn better ways to cope. DCS and juvenile justice centers could refer several of the kids. The goal would be to return the youth home, said Smith, who’d opened a similar facility in New Orleans before this…. “We really need that service,” said Joshua John Diehl, chief program officer for child and adolescent services at the nonprofit LOGAN, which works with people with developmental and intellectual disabilities…. Diehl hopes that Riverbend can serve youths with other developmental and intellectual disabilities, too. Autism has gained so much publicity and attention in recent years, that it’s hard to find support and funding for other disabilities, said Diehl, who has done academic research on autism and managed LOGAN’s autism services….


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