Yale Integrated Care Clinic for Autism (YICCA)
The Yale Integrated Care Clinic for Autism (YICCA) is a treatment program offered by the Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience (CTDN, Director: Kevin Pelphrey, PhD). YICCA offers long-term psychotherapy, medication management, group therapy, and focused coaching to adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Housing a variety of high-yield treatment modalities under one roof maximizes their accessibility and synergy, setting the stage for better treatment outcomes.
YICCA is the evolving product of years of experience treating individuals with ASD at the Yale Child Study Center. Doing better comes from knowing better. Therefore, optimal service to ASD individuals comes from observation and treatment in multiple settings. In addition to traditional office/clinic settings, assessment and treatment occur in group settings with peers, out in the community, and sometimes at home. Services are provided by the same clinical team assuring efficient integration of services and collection/processing of clinical information. Hours are flexible and Saturday appointments are available.
Treatment in YICCA is typically multimodal and consists of one or more of the following services:
• Individual Psychotherapy: Sessions are tailored to the individual and are not restricted to any single approach (i.e., cognitive/behavioral, supportive, motivational, etc.).Instead, multiple approaches are used in combination based on their effectiveness for each unique individual.
• Psychopharmacology: Child, adolescent, and general psychiatrists with expertise in treating individuals with developmental disabilities are available to provide medication management services for common comorbidities and behavioral issues. Please note that this option is available to ASD individuals of all ages.
• Group Therapy: Social development groups are designed to optimize participants’ knowledge and skill in interacting with others, regardless of the underlying reason. Currently, two groups are offered: adolescent and young adult. Furthermore, an all-girls/young women’s group is expected to launch early 2014.
• Pivotal Response Training (PRT): PRT is a well-studied and effective behaviorally-based treatment for children, adolescents and adults with ASD. The treatment is designed to improve social communication skills by teaching these skills within the context of natural environments.
After completing the intake evaluation process, services are typically rendered in combination. A decision can also be made to utilize only one of these services with the understanding that others can be added when clinically indicated. Services are provided by autism specialists with over 30 years of combined experience at the Yale Child Study Center:
Roger Jou MD, MPH, PhD is a psychiatrist and researcher, serving as Instructor at the Yale Child Study Center. He specializes in ASD across the lifespan and has published over a dozen research articles on the topic, ranging from neuroimaging to the use of medications to ameliorate comorbid symptoms. Dr. Jou completed his clinical training at Yale in both adult and child/adolescent psychiatry. He has evaluated numerous individuals with autism at the Yale Child Study Center’s Developmental Disabilities Clinic in New Haven. Notably, Dr. Jou is also part of an exciting new initiative at Yale, sponsored by the Hilibrand Foundationand the Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, to promote research and treatment in adolescents and adults with ASD.
Kathy Koenig, MSN, APRN is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Psychiatry, and an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale Child Study Center. Kathy has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric settings. She has special expertise completing clinical evaluations of children with developmental disabilities with a special focus on assessment and intervention for children with ASD. She has recently published a book Practical Social Skills for Autism Spectrum Disorders: Designing Child Specific Interventions, published by Norton. This book presents the state of the art research on what intervention methods are effective in helping children develop new social behaviors that will generalize to multiple settings. Most importantly, the book guides the professional in assessing the social strengths and weaknesses of the child so that intervention is customized to the individual child.
Pamela Ventola, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the Child Study Center, as well as the Clinical Director for the Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience. Dr. Ventola leads a clinical research project on Pivotal Response Treatment with children, adolescents and adults with ASD. She also has vast experience conducting psychological assessments on children with autism and other developmental disabilities and is a clinician at the Yale Child Study Center’s Developmental Disabilities Clinic. She recently published a book entitled, Essentials of Autism Spectrum Disorder Evaluation and Assessment.
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