Children's Hospital Colorado
Pediatric Mental Health Institute
Pediatric Mental Health Institute

Care for Autism and Intellectual Disabilities

Right now I feel like 1,000 pounds have been lifted from my shoulders. This has probably been the most emotional week I've ever had, and I wouldn't have been able to get through it without everybody's help…They didn't just listen to my wife and I, they heard us.”
– Daisy Davison, Seth's mom

About the Neuropsychiatric Special Care Program

We provide short-term inpatient and intensive day treatment care for children and adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder and/or an intellectual disability. Children aged 4 through 17 years with co-morbid (medical and/or psychiatric) conditions are eligible.

Our philosophy is:

  • We want our children to have the richest and fullest life possible.
  • We capitalize on the strengths of the child, not their disabilities.
  • We believe that treatment is only effective if it can be transferred to home and school.

Why choose Children’s Hospital Colorado for treatment?

Because we are a hospital-based crisis-managed specialty care program, we draw on experts from many disciplines:

  • Program director: Psychologist with extensive expertise in autism and related disorders
  • Medical director: Psychiatrist with extensive experience treating pediatric psychiatric disorders
  • Pediatrician: Expert in developmental pediatrics
  • Social worker: Experienced in working with community agencies to obtain support for your child and family

Our direct care staff includes a nurse and mental health counselors with specialized training in the treatment of children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. We also have the consulting services of speech/language therapists, special education teachers, occupational therapists, art, music, yoga and dance therapists.

Specific conditions treated

Services offered

Our five-pronged approach involves:

  • Behavioral/communication treatment interventions utilizing the TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children) philosophy. This philosophy is based on structuring the environment to maximize your child's understanding and independent functioning, thereby decreasing undesirable behaviors.
  • Psychotherapeutic interventions and evaluations to teach safe expression of emotions, academic and pre-vocational skills, independent leisure and self-care skills, and important social behaviors. These interventions include individual and group therapy, special education, speech and occupational therapy, a music, art, yoga and movement therapy.
  • Careful medication adjustments as necessary to enhance the individual’s learning opportunities by helping to reduce overwhelming issues, including anxiety, irritability, obsessions, compulsions, aggression, and self injury, collaboration the complete understanding and cooperation of parents is obtained before any change is made.
  • Medical evaluations to ensure that physical problems, including experience of pain, are not contributing to behavioral issues. Evaluations may include laboratory and other diagnostic tests and medical consultations with recommendations.
  • Teach effective intervention methods to families and community service providers, including schools, to promote smooth transitions from the hospital setting back into the community. The intervention plan is tailored to your child's specific needs, rather than a "cookie-cutter" approach.