At 16 months, Troy Holt stopped responding to his name. Though Troy’s mother, Katrina, was concerned, her pediatrician advised a wait-and-see approach. Troy's godmother, trained in child development, insisted something was not right. She told Katrina about Children’s Specialized Hospital’s early intervention services and Katrina moved fast, discovering that the hospital was holding a free developmental screening clinic at the Newark Public Library the next day.
There, Amy Norton, MA, coordinator of the hospital’s community early developmental screening program, tested Troy and confirmed that he needed further evaluation. “It was heartbreaking to hear,” recalls Katrina. “But at the same time, she didn’t just say, ‘There’s something wrong with your son.’ I walked out of there feeling I had a friend.” Katrina had health insurance, so Amy urged her to immediately schedule an assessment at Children’s Specialized Hospital. “Amy emphasized, ‘Don’t sit on this.’ She made sure I was aware that I couldn’t let another day go by.”
Free developmental screenings in underserved communities like Newark, are part of Children’s Specialized Hospital’s extensive array of pioneering, top-quality autism services that are unparalleled in the region. The hospital leads in grant-funded research into autism spectrum disorder (ASD), in community education, in using the latest evidence-based therapies, and in its depth of specialized clinical expertise. Funded by Kohl’s Cares, its aggressive program of developmental screenings connects thousands more children to treatment earlier than ever – when intervention has the greatest impact on their futures.
In 2013, the hospital expanded its free developmental screening clinics from 18 to 36, with a parallel dramatic rise in children served from 196 to 384. Amy Norton sees their impact every day. “So many moms, like Katrina, aren’t sure. But with Troy, my trained eye picked up so many clear signs. The great part was, we knew after just 30 minutes and we got Troy help.”
“It is truly amazing the instant connection my son had with his therapists. They made him feel so welcome and were very kind and very encouraging.”-Grateful Parent