Healthy Kids Summer 2022

Autism Support in Southwest Riverside SERVICES

translate art-making skills into critical medical needs that ultimately help patients. It’s very rewarding.” The lab also creates models that help residents practice their skills and develops prototypes for medical devices. “Everything we do is still fairly new,” Ryan says. “We’re treading in areas we’ve never tread before. What we do is always innovative.” Part of that innovation includes the work done by the lab’s research engineer—and its only other employee— Parham Gholami. Together, they’ve developed specific software applications for the Hospital and plan to create more programs. Gholami and the rest of the Rady Children’s team are Ryan’s biggest inspirations. “Everyone fulfills a need,” he says, “whether you’re a surgeon who performs the surgery, a nurse who supports the surgeon or the support staff who turns on the lights—to be a part of this machinery that helps patients is inspiring.” The lab is funded through the Helen and Will Webster Foundation. The lab is seeking to recruit a second research engineer with these funds. “The foundation has allowed us to rapidly grow to address critical needs and thrive,” Ryan says. “We’re bringing attention to what 3D printing can do for hospitals. It’s opened a lot of eyes to what is possible.”

Rady Children’s Murrieta Medical Plaza expands its reach with innovative care options

that health plan, consisting of a clinical psychologist, pediatric neurologist, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, behavior specialist and care coordinator. “What’s nice about the CDE is that because everybody’s already a part of this evaluation team, there aren’t any gaps in care,” says Stephany Aiello, manager of Developmental Services Programs at the medical plaza. “I’m happy that we’re able to offer this to our families and really address the needs for our underserved population.” Her team is also ready to equip Rady Children’s primary care doctors with tool kits that can help kids with autism have a more positive visit. They contain items that can serve as distractions, rewards or reinforcers. That can mean sunglasses and noise-canceling headphones, a weighted lap pad and items that can be manipulated, such as Silly Putty. Perhaps the most beneficial, Aiello says, is a binder of visuals that the practitioner can use to break down in pictures what’s going to happen at the appointment and ease an anxious mind. “This is so helpful, especially for our children with autism,” Aiello says. “It creates this visual path for them, and it really helps to calm children because they know what’s going to happen.”

When families of children on the autism spectrum seek care, they’re often left shuttling between various providers and facilities that could be several miles apart and may not be in contact with one another. Rady Children’s aims to streamline the process for families in Riverside County by hosting several autism services under the same roof at Murrieta Medical Plaza. Patients have access to primary care and 15 specialty clinics, plus developmental services including physical and occupational therapies, speech-language therapy, diagnostic developmental evaluations and autism treatment. Alexa’s Playful Learning Academy for Young Children (Alexa’s PLAYC) is an early education program for both typically developing kids and those with an autism spectrum disorder age 5 and under. Mental health therapy is relatively new to Rady Children’s Murrieta site and is a welcome addition, since some patients will have dual diagnoses or require trauma- informed care. Murrieta Medical Plaza also partners with the Inland Empire Health Plan, one of the largest Medicare- Medicaid providers in the US. This partnership made possible a multidisciplinary, Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation service specifically for patients on

Rady Children’s was one of the first hospitals to acquire a 3D printer that can simulate human tissue. The lab is now able to provide surgeons lifelike models of hearts, airways and bones.


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