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New Autism Center Opens in Lynchburg - abc27 WHTM

New Autism Center Opens in Lynchburg

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Lynchburg, VA - There's now a new center in Lynchburg to help both children and their families understand and deal with being diagnosed with autism.

Centra's Autism Diagnostic Center is set to open March 18.

The groundbreaking center came about because of a lack of specific services for children with autism.

It's designed to diagnose and treat children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Centra hopes it will also help families get through the diagnosis.

Dr. Jitendra Annapareddy refers to Autism as a 'Journey. When he joined Centra last year, his goal was to create a treatment center that would be there for the whole ride.

"We can follow these children throughout their lives, so they can become successful adults," Annapareddy said.

Centra's new Autism Diagnostic and Treatment Center has set out to standardize the diagnostic process.

"There are different clinicians working in different settings that are diagnosing these children," Annapareddy continued.

At the new center, the child will undergo diagnostic testing which will assess the child's disorder across age, development level, and language skills.

They'll then incorporate everyone involved in the child's care to come up with a personalized treatment plan.

"We can help the teachers figure out better ways of managing these children," Annapareddy said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 88 kids in the U.S. have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some 90,000 people in Virginia have the disorder. The total number of people diagnosed is up 23% since 2009.

"With the advances in research and the advances in diagnosing these disorders, we are seeing a lot more people diagnosed," Annapareddy said.

Annapareddy hopes this treatment center will help everyone from teachers to parents understand each child's specific needs.

"Autism is a spectrum, true spectrum disorder where each child is unique," Annapareddy said.

The Centra Autism Program is also opening a new school for autistic children here at the Bridges Treatment Center.

The school is also set to open this month.

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