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TODAY news for Thursday, February 12, 2007

School of Medicine news

START pediatric neurodevelopmental assessment and treatment center holds January open house

The new START pediatric neurodevelopmental assessment and treatment center, located on Hospitality Lane, represents a complicated collaborative effort.

However, the results are simple: a new center for children suffering from neurodevelopmental problems will now make it easier for them and their families to obtain help and have a better life.

The acronym, START, stands for screening, testing, assessment, referral, and treatment.

An open house for the new center, located at 164 West Hospitality Lane, suites 1 and 3, in San Bernardino, was held on January 12, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Funded by First 5 San Bernardino and the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health, this initiative involves the cooperation of many entities, including three from Loma Linda.

Loma Linda University will oversee services for children ages 0 to 3 for the center. In the suite just across the lobby, California State University’s Institute for Child Development and Family Relations will oversee the clinic administration and services for children ages 3 to 5.

“Mental health professionals from a number of mental health services, agencies, and programs will share responsibilities,” explains Kiti Freier, PhD, professor, department of psychology, LLU School of Science and Technology, department of pediatrics, LLU School of Medicine, and START 0-3 clinical coordinator. “It will be difficult to distinguish who is working where—we’re all working as a team for the center.”

The LLU departments of pediatrics and occupational therapy, as well as the LLU School of Science and Technology are involved with the center.

In addition, the University of Redlands Truesdail Center for Communicative Disorders, Inland Regional Center, Knotts Family and Parenting Agency of San Bernardino, Christian Counseling Service of Redlands, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, Children’s Network of San Bernardino, Children’s Fund of San Bernardino, and the San Bernardino County Preschool Services Department and Department of Children’s Services are all involved in supporting the center through funding and/or professional support.

The vision for the center is to lead to the development of a center for excellence in best practices for children ages 0 to 5. The center will provide a “home” for core clinical services (assessment and intervention), professional development initiatives, and efforts to expand evaluation and research, as well as improve coordination among clinical service agents, and between science and practice.

Plans for the center include becoming a catalyst for change, and a substantial force in shaping the community priorities for children through advocacy.

Family services will include: comprehensive transdisciplinary assessments for children ages 0 to 5; psychotherapy using scientifically based, best practice models of intervention; individual rehabilitation for children provided in the clinic, preschool, community, and at home; occupational therapy; speech and language therapy; and caregiver education seminars and group interventions provided in the community.

For behavioral health professionals, the center will provide: training on topics related to early child development, including neuropsychological, sensorimotor, and communication development; clinical internships in a variety of disciplines, focused on best practices with children ages 0 to 5, such as occupational therapy, speech pathology, psychology, marital and family therapy, and social work; and consultation.

Due to current funding restrictions, children must qualify for San Bernardino County MediCal to take advantage of the center’s services.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (909) 379-1525.

By Larry S. Kidder, MA

TODAY news for Thursday, February 12, 2007