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Overview

The Lurie Center for Autism is an integrated and multidisciplinary clinical, research, training and advocacy program dedicated to treating individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disorders. Our mission is to treat individuals and support their families across the lifespan. Our Lexington location is the primary clinical care and clinical research site. The Lurie Center for Autism is born out of a philosophy that people with developmental disabilities deserve to be viewed as individuals, each with personal patterns of talents and challenges. We strongly believe that each individual deserves the opportunity for access to the quantity and quality of services needed to reach his or her full potential, regardless of economic, social or ethnic background.

The Lurie Center clinical model combines evaluation and treatment by physicians, psychologists, and nurse practitioners in collaboration with other professionals involved in the individual’s care, including educational consultants, behavioral consultants, speech-language pathologists, and physical and occupational therapists. Our unique approach is applied not only to diagnosis but also to identifying the most appropriate interventions and therapies for each patient’s special needs. The multidisciplinary model further offers the opportunity for the care team to more effectively communicate and learn from each other to improve complex clinical care.

We specialize in caring for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders with complex profiles who may also have accompanying conditions such as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, sleep problems, gastrointestinal conditions, and many other physical or cognitive concerns. Our physicians evaluate patients and develop a comprehensive plan for each patient which can be shared with the caregiver, referring physician, school and/or community program. Care is taken to help the family locate appropriate resources.

Individuals seeking evaluation or services for the following conditions are frequently referred to the Lurie Center:

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), (including Asperger’s disorder, pervasive developmental disorders-not otherwise specified [PDD-NOS], and autistic disorder)
  • Developmental delays
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Angelman syndrome
  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Rett’s disorder
  • Tuberous sclerosis
  • Tourette's disorder
  • Williams syndrome
  • Other neurological conditions

Collaborative Partners Based in our Lexington Location Include:

Evaluation & Services Overview

For Children & Adolescents

For Adults

Meet the Team

Lurie Center for Autism Director

Lurie Center Medical Director

Lurie Center Clinical Director, Non-Physician Services

Our Providers

Nurses

  • Lana Wilcox, RN, BSN
  • Katri Toivanen-Hubbard, RN
  • Jessica Zoino, RN, BSN

Medical Assistants

  • Stefanie Toppi, CCMAII

Family Support Specialists

  • Suzanne Bloomer, MA
  • Julie O’Brien, LMHC
  • Ellen Roth, MSW, LICSW

Senior Behavioral Consultant

  • Nicole Simon, EdM, LABA, BCBA

Education Specialist

  • Gretchen L. Timmel, M Ed.

MGH Patient Navigator for Autism

  • Karen A. Turner, MS, OTR/L


Our on-site Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech-Language Therapy Services are provided by Spaulding Rehabilitation specialists: See Spaulding Outpatient Center for Children Lexington

Workshops and Events

Coffee Convo Series
Our commitment is to provide ongoing evidence-based learning and training opportunities for families and professionals. One of the ways we do this is with our popular Coffee Convo series, which runs monthly from September to May.

Wednesday, January 29th
6:30 - 7:30pm
What to Expect After Age 22 for Individuals with ID: Nuts and Bolts of Planning

Wednesday, February 26th
6:30 - 7:30pm
Supporting Siblings Throughout the Journey

Wednesday, March 25th
6:30 - 7:30pm
Helpful Apps for Managing Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Monthly Caregiver Workshops

NEWLY DIAGNOSED - Monthly, 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 pm, Free
Receiving a new diagnosis can be a life changing experience for caregivers. This interactive workshop is geared toward caregivers of young children. It provides support and general education about autism spectrum disorder, the
treatments available, and community services available to families.

BEHAVIOR BASICS - Monthly, 4th Tuesday, 11:30-1:00 pm, $25/Family
Knowing how to help your child stay in control can be hard. This interactive workshop helps caregivers understand the basic principles of behavior in order to better manage challenging behaviors at home. Discussion will focus on
evidence-based applied behavior analysis (ABA) and applying this methodology to daily life.

TRANSITIONS - Monthly, 1st Tuesday, 5:00-6:00 pm, $25/Family
This workshop provides a thorough overview and discussion about transition to adult planning. Transitions is
specifically designed for parents or caregivers of an adolescent who has autism spectrum disorder or a related
developmental disability who would like to learn about important information, such as timelines, steps/tasks, services and resources.

GUARDIANSHIP 101 - Monthly, 1st & 3rd Thursdays, 1:00-2:00 pm, $25/Family
The process of pursuing guardianship of children can be confusing. This workshop is designed for parents of children ages 14 years and older. It teaches the basics of the guardianship process, including types of guardianship, how to
determine if your child needs a guardian, and how to prepare your child for turning 18.

GUARDIANSHIP 102 - Monthly, 2nd & 4th Thursdays, 11:00-12:30 pm, $50/Family
Completing all of the court-required paperwork can be overwhelming. This workshop is a hands-on group tutorial that includes the review of checklists for each attendee and required documentation. It also provides guidance with
probate court processes and referrals to legal resources. This workshop can also be provided as a private individual family meeting, by appointment only, at a cost of $100/family.

GUARDIANSHIP 103 - Monthly, 4th Wednesday, 2:00-3:00 pm, $25/Family
Once you have successfully completed your guardianship appointment, one of the important duties for legal guardians in Massachusetts is reporting to the probate court. The initial Guardian Care Plan/Report is required within 60 days of the appointment, and then annually on the anniversary of the guardianship appointment. This workshop is a hands–on group tutorial that walks you through the questions to help you prepare the Guardian Care Plan/Report. (MPC 821)

News

See Below for Important News Articles and Published Material

"Assessment of Walking Routes as a Possible Approach for Promoting Physical Activity in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Brief Report
", July, 2019, Developmental Neurorehabilitation
Nicolas M. Oreskovic, Ann M. Neumeyer, Michael P. Duggan & Karen A.Kuhlthau

"Let's Raise Awareness About Autism" video series, April, 2019, MGH Lurie Center
In honor of Autism Awareness Month, the Lurie Center for Autism produced an educational video series. These videos, featuring our own clinicians and experts, were created to raise awareness of common challenges and symptoms experienced by autistic people.

"Why We Need a Better Awareness of How Autism Spectrum Disorder Differs in Women", 4/23/19, Mass General Research Institute Blog post
New research from the Lurie Center for Autism at Massachusetts General Hospital discusses increasing awareness of gender-specific differences in ASD to improve early diagnosis rates and identify better treatment strategies for female patients. The recent article published in Current Psychiatry Reports, is summarized and discussed in this blog post.

Encyclopedias
SAGE Encyclopedias

Lurie Center & MGH Aspire staff published in new SAGE Encyclopedias - 3/16/2018, MGH Lurie Center & MGH Aspire
We are delighted to announced that numerous staff members of the Lurie Center and MGH Aspire have authored chapters of the 2018 SAGE Encyclopedia of Intellectual and Developmental Disorders. Click here to see the full list of authors.

London Family Looks to Emulate the Lurie Center's Model in the UK and Beyond
When Malik Dahlan and Sarah Yamani noticed their third son, Hamza, was not progressing at the same rate as his older brothers, they were on a quest to find answers and resources. Soon they were pointed to the Lurie Center for Autism.

Making the Hospital Accessible for Individuals with Autism - 12/31/2016
The growing number of patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) prompted Massachusetts General Hospital to initiate the Autism Care Collaborative (ACC). With the support of the Ruderman Family Foundation, the ACC team set forth to build awareness of the needs of people with autism.

Research

The mission of the Lurie Center for Autism is to advance knowledge of the causes of and treatments for autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disorders and rapidly translate these discoveries into exceptional clinical care over a lifetime.

The Lurie Center for Autism is involved in collaborations with basic science researchers from around the globe to discover the fundamental causes of autism. At the Lurie Center, our Lexington based clinic that provides clinical care and clinical research, we offer children and adults with autism spectrum disorder an opportunity to participate in clinical research that provides unprecedented access to new and promising treatment options.

At the Lurie Center, we integrate research into our clinical practice. We partner with individuals and families to incorporate groundbreaking research into the heart of our clinical practice. With participation in research, our study volunteers join an important partnership with the research community and contribute to increasing knowledge of autism and related disorders.

Current Lurie Center for Autism studies for Children:


Current Lurie Center for Autism studies for Adults:

 

To learn more about currently available research opportunities at the Lurie Center, please contact our research office: LurieCenterResearch@partners.org or call us at 781.860.1711.

 

For more information about clinical research participation, visit the following links: