(UK) Heiress donates $2.2M (US) to help under-served ASD kids in Britain

Nov 1, 2018,Evening Standard: F1 heiress Petra launches £1.7m [$2.22M US dollars] centre to help autistic children Formula 1 heiress Petra Ecclestone today attacked the “shocking” quality of treatment for autistic children in Britain as she launched a £1.7 million specialist pre-school therapy centre. The mother of three said she was inspired to set up Petra’s Place, in Chelsea, after her daughter Lavinia was suspected of suffering from the condition because of her slow development. The five-year-old was initially treated in the US and her mother said she was dismayed by the care she received when the family returned to Britain. “The doctors were not helpful, there was very little advice and few treatment options,” said Ms Ecclestone. … Lavinia was eventually determined not to have autism, … The centre will offer diagnosis and treatment programmes for up to 100 children a year in a specially designed “low stress” environment, with calming lighting, muted colours and soundproofing to keep out loud noises…. Private therapy programmes start from £150 an hour [$196 an hour US dollars] Located in a former estate agency in Fulham Road, Petra’s Place has six therapy rooms, a sensory area, a kitchen and cooking area for children, an open-plan group therapy area, an outdoor play area and a family therapy room. It will have seven staff including four therapists. An advisory team is headed by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University and a world-leading authority on the condition. Ms Ecclestone’s comments came after latest NHS figures revealed that 250 children with autism or learning difficulties are being held in secure psychiatric units — up from 110 in 2015.