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Damar teams up with NeuroDiagnostic Institute to provide specialized autism services – opening January 1, 2021

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A new state-of-the-art autism services unit to be operated by Damar Services at the Indiana NeuroDiagnostic Institute (NDI) and Advanced Treatment Center will open Jan. 1.

The 10-bed autism services unit at the state’s new psychiatric hospital located on the east side of Indianapolis will serve adolescents with autism who are in need of immediate intervention to address behaviors that have not been effectively managed in the home, community or school. The 12-to-18-year-old clients will receive in-patient services for roughly six weeks, with the goal of being returned to their families or caregivers and their community.

“These are kids and families in crisis that need stabilization and a clear plan forward,” said Kristin McCoy, BCBA – who is leading Damar’s partnership with NDI. “We’ll focus on establishing a clear diagnosis, on creating a unique treatment plan for each family, and on training caregivers and the community to ensure success after discharge.”

Admissions to the unit can come from a variety of sources, including community mental health centers, the Indiana Department of Child Services and schools. Parents, guardians or caregivers will be involved in the decision to admit a child, who must be a resident of Indiana with a referral from a healthcare provider.[KC1] 

Services to youth with such severe challenges takes multidisciplinary input and expertise. Damar is doubling its expertise by teaming up with the Indiana University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Indiana University Health Physicians. [KC2] Providers and faculty members will work closely with Damar to provide medical, psychiatric and behavioral sciences supports to these youth and families.  In addition to serving the child on the Unit, the program will utilize the IU School of Medicine’s HANDS in Autism Interdisciplinary Training and Resource Center to provide services to families, caregivers and the providers serving them in the community, inclusive of resource and/or training support before and after hospitalization.[KC3] 

“Bringing the resources of three major players represents the largest autism-treatment collaboration in Indiana to date. We are excited to begin this collaboration and look forward to positive outcomes for Hoosier families,” said Jerry Sheward, M.D., superintendent and chief medical director at the NDI.  

The Indiana NeuroDiagnostic Institute and Advanced Treatment Center, or NDI, opened in 2019 as the state’s first new psychiatric hospital in more than 50 years. The 159-bed facility built on the campus of Community Hospital East serves a range of acute and chronic mental health conditions, developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury and degenerative illnesses.

The rate of autism has increased steadily in recent years (the latest figures [KC4] from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the rate at one in every 54 children, up from one in 150 in the year 2000). While some children with autism require full-time residential services, most do not. However, some behaviors that accompany autism can become severe and require intervention and opportunities to address those behaviors in an intensive, controlled setting.

The NDI’s cutting-edge design focuses on a non-institutional feel, with bright colors, comfortable settings and outdoor terraces, including a specialized outdoor play and recreation area. To ensure that different patient populations remain separated and patients are easily monitored for safety, the building has a high-tech monitoring and access system and other design measures.

“We’re delighted that, once again, the state of Indiana has turned to Damar when it needed highly specialized services,” said Damar CEO Jim Dalton. “We look forward to being a part of this amazing facility and to providing services to young people and families facing incredible challenges.”

Families interested in accessing these services can email [email protected].

About the Indiana NeuroDiagnostic Institute and Advanced Treatment Center

NeuroDiagnostic Institute and Advanced Treatment Center located on the campus of Community Hospital East in Indianapolis, and operated in partnership with Community Health Network, delivers advanced evaluation and treatment for patients with the most challenging and complex neuropsychiatric illnesses and moves them more efficiently into the most appropriate treatment settings within the community or state mental health system. The NDI is a key component the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s initiative to modernize and reengineer Indiana’s network of state-operated mental health facilities.

About Damar Services

For more than 53 years, Damar Services has been a leader in providing services to children and adults challenged by autism and intellectual, developmental and behavioral disabilities. From its main campus on Indianapolis’ southwest side, a northeast side clinic and other locations across the state, Damar offers residential and community-based treatment, outpatient behavioral health services and ABA Autism Services by Damar. In addition, Damar operates two schools and provides foster care services. For more information, visit www.damar.org.

About IU School of Medicine

IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.

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Media contacts:

Jen Thomas for Damar Services, 317-441-2487, [email protected]