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Autism Awareness: How KSB’s Partnership with Florissa Helps Support Patients with Autism

KSB and Florissa, the children’s division of Kreider Services, have worked closely for the past decade, with collaboration evolving. Each regularly refers patients to the other to provide families with comprehensive medical and behavioral health care. Consultations are also shared to ensure nothing is missed that may be helpful for a child’s care. Florissa offers Early Intervention services and screenings, diagnostic evaluations for all childhood problems, therapy, social skills and parenting groups, consultation, community training, and a resource library for various topics, including autism and other social, emotional, behavioral, and intellectual/developmental disabilities. Each week, KSB Pediatrics staff (NP, social worker, nurse, and administrator) meet with Florissa staff to review referrals from any physician within KSB Hospital and Medical Clinics. Upon review, they decide on the most appropriate services to help the families, which may include an evaluation at Florissa, therapy through KSB Pediatrics, medication management, and/or referral to other professionals. Florissa supports patients with autism in specific ways, including:
  • Providing diagnostic evaluations with a multidisciplinary team, including a clinical psychologist, pediatrician, speech/language therapist, and occupational therapist.
  • Ensuring that all areas of development and functioning are assessed, including comorbid conditions, so that the appropriate diagnostic conclusions are provided and the most effective services are recommended.
  • Providing parent consultation for newly diagnosed families and ongoing family support throughout children’s development.
  • Offering individual therapy and social skills groups for middle and high school students.
  • A new group for young adults with autism (ages 18-22) as they transition into adulthood. It provides a forum for young adults to connect, form relationships, and discuss topics pertinent to them.
  • Working with other organizations to host family events and training for the community.
  • Offering a family and Community Resource Center in our building that anyone can utilize.
  • Training two to three doctoral clinical psychology externs each year who eventually go on to provide exemplary child clinical services in Illinois and around the country.
“Autistic individuals often experience misunderstanding and biases, exclusion or discrimination,” says Kelly Flanagan, Ph.D., Clinical Director of Florissa. “Autism Awareness Month is about awareness and acceptance of our autistic community members. An increasing number of children are diagnosed with autism each year and will be a part of our communities through adulthood. All of the funds we raise help to support our services and provide financial assistance to local families. Many cannot travel long distances to other diagnostic centers, cannot afford the expensive evaluation, or cannot find a provider without a waitlist of less than a year long.” Florissa has hosted an annual conference for over a decade with nationally renowned speakers focused on autism topics. The conference targets professionals working with autistic youth and families with children with autism. This year local professionals, including four Florissa staff members, are providing education about neurodiversity and its impact on ABA therapy, education, and employment. On April 29, Florissa will host their annual Family 5k Run and Walk that is inclusive for anyone with disabilities and