Arkansas Therapy Outreach | About REACH
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R.E.A.C.H. Diagnostic Clinic

Do you suspect your child may have autism? Please discuss your concerns openly and thoroughly with your child’s pediatrician and feel free to use our Autism Symptom Checklist which you can print to share during your appointment. Please be proactive and remember that research has taught us the importance of early identification and appropriate intervention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided helpful information we encourage you to reference within their “Learn the signs. Act Early.” campaign. 

The REACH diagnostic clinic assesses children as young as 24 months of age to determine if the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is appropriate. Referral from your child’s Primary Care Physician (Pediatrician) is required. We use an interdisciplinary team approach to diagnose and care for your child’s needs while considering all unique medical, developmental, behavioral and educational needs. At the conclusion of the diagnostic appointment, the REACH program offers assistance to help you connect with any needed treatment and support services within your community.

An interdisciplinary team of clinicians will see you and your child at the diagnostic appointment. The evaluation process includes:

  • An in-depth review of your child’s records is completed prior to your appointment (Please note: It is vitally important that you provide detailed and accurate information as well as all previous evaluations to be considered carefully during this process);
  • A detailed intake interview including developmental history from parents or caregivers is completed with our Certified Autism Specialist (CAS) in order to comprehensively gather information about your family history of medical and developmental disorders, your child’s social environment and acquisition or lack of achievement of developmental milestones, etc.;
  • Administration of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2) is completed;
  • Speech-language, occupational, physical evaluations are completed by therapists trained specifically to work with children suspected of ASD;
  • A medical examination and consultation is available with Dr. Janna Jennings, a Pediatrician specializing in serving children with unique abilities;
  • Evaluation of your child’s social skills through observations and play interactions;
  • Additionally, a Psychological Evaluation and Functional Behavior Assessment (for an ABA program) can be scheduled on a supplemental basis as well.
  • Following the evaluation, our team will meet to discuss possible diagnoses and thorough recommendations for your child and your family. After that time, a diagnostic consultation session is scheduled with our Certified Autism Specialist. A detailed report of the clinical findings will be provided for you at that time along with comfort and guidance for the next steps to take in order to best assist your child’s success moving forward.

An autism diagnosis does not have to be an isolating experience. It will be our pleasure to help you find other parents and families to share support, experience and hope. In addition, we offer classes to help you understand your child’s diagnosis and give individual guidance on taking the next steps forward. Since there is no single treatment for autism, we can help you learn about the various treatment options available. We value our responsibility to educate families regarding evidence-based treatment options in order to confidently advocate for your child.

This process can be lengthy depending on the behavior and developmental level of your child, among other factors. Therefore, we ask that you prepare to spend 2.5 to 3.5 hours at the REACH clinic on your appointment date. Please bring snacks and other comfort items, wear comfortable clothes, and make arrangements for childcare for the patient’s siblings if needed.

R.E.A.C.H. Autism Treatment Center

STAR Outpatient Therapy Program: Determining the most appropriate and evidence-based treatment strategies for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the goal of REACH. At this time, research is clear on the types of interventions that should be implemented when treating individuals with ASD. The National Autism Center has conducted a review of research articles that resulted in the National Standards Report Phase 1 and National Standards Report Phase 2. These studies identified the most effective treatment strategies to treat individuals with ASD. When exploring different interventions and programs that include these evidence-based practices, Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research (STAR) proved to include many of these practices. Because the goal of the R.E.A.C.H. program is to provide evidence-based programs, the outpatient therapy program implements the STAR curriculum for the highest level of evidence based care possible.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy Program: Behavior Analysis is the scientific study of principles of learning and behavior. R.E.A.C.H. offers applied behavior analysis (ABA) which is a systematic approach for influencing socially important behaviors through the identification of reliably related environmental variables and the production of behavior change techniques that make use of those findings. R.E.A.C.H.’S Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Michael Lenehan, and our ABA therapists are committed to enhancing and improving people’s lives by working with children, families, and professionals to teach functional skills (e.g., communication, adaptive behavior) and decrease problem behaviors (e.g., aggression, self-injurious behavior) with positive, family-centered intervention. Services include, but are not limited to, conducting behavioral assessments, analyzing data, writing and revising behavior-analytic treatment plans, training others to implement components of treatment plans, overseeing the implementation of treatment plans, and consulting with special education programs in our communities to better serve individuals with autism and unique abilities.

Meet our R.E.A.C.H. Autism Program Staff

Janna. Jennings

Janna Jennings, M.D.

Pediatrician, Medical Director

Dr. Janna Jennings is a pediatrician with a passion for helping children with special needs. She received her Doctorate of Medicine in 2000 from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and became board certified in Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics in 2003. In 2013, she began volunteering at the Autism Clinic at Arkansas Children’s Hospital where she spent 18 months learning from the doctors there about the latest research, medical and nutritional interventions options available for children with autism and related disorders.

Holly. Crutchfield

Holly Crutchfield, LCSW, CAS

Certified Autism Specialist, Diagnostic Coordinator

Holly is a Licensed Certified Social Worker and Certified Autism Specialist who has worked with special needs children and their families for over 13 years with an emphasis in addressing Autism Spectrum Disorder. She currently serves as the Diagnostic Clinic & Mental Health Program Coordinator at REACH. Holly received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro in 2001 and her Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2003. Holly has also written a book explaining Autism to children, “It Takes a Little Longer Than You” and has a servant’s heart in regards to her work with autism.

charity

Charity Roberts, MCD, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist, Therapy Coordinator

Charity is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist with advanced training in evidenced based interventions for autism, pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders, and Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC) systems. She has worked with individuals with special needs for over 11 years. Charity received a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders in 2002 and a Master of Communication Disorders degree from Arkansas State University in 2003. She has enjoyed many important roles in serving children including traveling the state to assess children for AAC systems. She has assisted in setting up special education programming and provided speech therapy recommendations to special education teams across the state, and is trained in administration of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule.

Rebecca Schlau

Rebecca Schlau, Psy.D

Psychologist, Diagnostic Consultations

Dr. Rebecca Schlau is a licensed clinical psychologist. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Hendrix College, Dr. Schlau completed her Master’s and Doctoral degrees at the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield Missouri. After an internship in Miami Florida, she returned to her home state for a residency at UAMS. Shortly thereafter she joined the Mercy outpatient Clinic in Hot Springs, Arkansas and moved to Bryant, Arkansas in 2013. She has varied interests in psychology and was trained in multiple settings with people of all ages and backgrounds.

Michael. Lenehan

Michael Lenehan, M.S., CCC-SLP, BCBA

Speech-Language Pathologist, Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Michael is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). He received a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2012 and a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2014 from the University of Central Arkansas. He completed coursework, training and the board exam to obtain credentialing as a BCBA in 2016. Michael is deeply interested in and committed to children with autism and believes in the use of objective data collection, creative problem solving, and evidence-based practices. He has enjoyed the opportunity to develop his skills to serve children in a variety of settings including public schools in Saline County, outpatient therapy centers, community settings and area preschools. Michael is eager to work with children through R.E.A.C.H. where he plays a key role in our interdisciplinary team of specialized clinicians serving this unique population of patients.