Clients are now being accepted for early behavioral intervention at the new Fresno State Autism Center @ Valley Children’s Hospital, which opened with a ribbon cutting today.

The center is a satellite location of the Autism Center @ Fresno State.

Todd Suntrapak, Valley Children’s president and CEO, and Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro was joined for the opening by students who will work at the center and mascots George and TimeOut.

The center will serve children ages 18 months to five years who have been diagnosed with autism, said Tim Yeager, director of Fresno State’s Behavioral Sciences Institute that operates the center through the College of Science and Mathematics.

Children can receive between 15 and 30 hours of treatment per week in two rooms that will be used for early behavior intervention. The hospital is also providing two offices for management staff.

Children will be referred for services through the child’s pediatrician or through the Central Valley Regional Center, Yeager said.

“Through the space provided by Valley Children’s Hospital, the Autism Center @ Fresno State is able to carry out its mission to be a leader in the field of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention through training, research and service,” Yeager said.

Those objectives are:

  • Expand  the services the center provides to the community by offering services to an additional 16 children
  • Further the training of  University students and post-baccalaureate certificates
  • Provide new opportunities for faculty research

More than 50 Fresno State students will receive hands-on training at the hospital.

“Valley Children’s and Fresno State are united in fighting for the futures of children around the Valley,” Suntrapak said. “Despite the challenges autism presents, we want these kids to lead as productive and happy lives as possible. I am honored to team up with Fresno State and look forward to our continued partnership in the years to come.”

Castro said the expansion of the center into a satellite location provides more resources to the community and training not offered before. He said the partnership with the hospital is a major development for the Valley.

“Valley Children’s Hospital has been a pillar in our community for more than 60 years, providing high-quality medical services to children, regardless of their ability to pay,” Castro said. “We are honored to be working alongside this well respected organization to address the needs of children in our region.”

Yeager said the rates of autism are rising. “In 2002, one out of every 150 children was diagnosed with autism. Currently, one out of every 68 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.”

Dr. Andrew Lawson, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, said the program uses behavior analysis to address this rising concern.

“Over 30 years of research has demonstrated the efficacy of applied behavior analysis for children with autism in increasing communication, learning and appropriate social behavior while decreasing inappropriate behavior,” Lawson said.

To inquire about services at the satellite center (9300 Valley Children’s Place off Hwy. 41 north of Fresno), call 559.278.6773.

Media contacts:

Zara Arboleda, Public Relations Manager
Valley Children’s Healthcare – 559.284.0187

Tom Uribes, Public Information Officer
Fresno State – 559.246.1717

VISUALS: Immediately following the ribbon-cutting, the presidents of the two institutions will be given a brief tour of the two intervention rooms.


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Related links:

Original press

Autism Center @ Fresno State –

Valley Children’s Hospital

Behavioral Sciences Institute –