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Phoenix Children's and Arizona Department of Economic Security Offer Training for Physicians to Diagnose and Improve Care for Young Children with Autism

PHOENIX, May 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Phoenix Children's and the Arizona Department of Economic Security's Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) have established a partnership to expand the Early Access to Care – Arizona (EAC-AZ) program. EAC-AZ will provide training to primary care practitioners to improve competence in providing diagnoses and medical care for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

EAC-AZ was developed by the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's, and the newest extension of the program will be co-led by Phoenix Children's Chief of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Dr. Richard E. Frye, and DDD Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Cody Conklin-Aguilera. The program will offer training in giving comprehensive care to children with ASD. This will increase the availability of diagnoses and medical home provisions to underserved areas, which include remote and rural areas. It also allows for earlier intervention for children with ASD.

"Currently, DDD recognizes diagnoses of ASD from licensed clinical psychologists, child psychiatrists, neurologists and developmental pediatricians," said Dr. Conklin-Aguilera. "With the Early Access to Care, DDD will be able to accept diagnoses from primary care physicians and general pediatricians who complete the specialized training. We will be looking to adjust DDD rules so in the near future nurse practitioners with specialized training will also be able to diagnose autism spectrum disorder."

Phoenix Children's will host a two-day conference on Friday, Sept.13, and Saturday, Sept.14, 2019. The conference will cover the history of the EAC-AZ program, modern diagnosis of ASD and other behavioral disorders of childhood, common medical comorbidities associated with ASD and best-practice suggestions for providers interested in enrolling in the program. The conference is open to all interested parties on Friday, Sept.13. The second day of the conference, Sept.14, will be a working meeting for existing members of the EAC-AZ program. Registration for both conference days is linked here:

"We are excited to work with primary care pediatricians to develop a high-quality, streamlined diagnostic process for ASD," said Dr. Frye. "This will allow children to be diagnosed earlier in life when treatment is most effective."

About Phoenix Children's Hospital
Phoenix Children's Hospital is Arizona's only children's hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report's Best Children's Hospitals with rankings in all ten specialties. Phoenix Children's provides world-class inpatient, outpatient, trauma, emergency and urgent care to children and families in Arizona and throughout the Southwest. As one of the largest children's hospitals in the country, Phoenix Children's provides care across more than 75 pediatric specialties. The Hospital is poised for continued growth in quality patient care, research and medical education. For more information about the hospital, visit

About Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's Hospital
Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's Hospital heals children with neurological and mental health diseases and disorders so that they can have a happy and healthy quality of life by offering the most comprehensive inpatient and outpatient neurological care and services to infants, children and teens with neurological-related problems. Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a leading Neuroscience Center for our collaborative and comprehensive approach to clinical medicine, education and research has resulted in Barrow at Phoenix Children's being the largest pediatric neuroscience center in the Southwest.  We are one of the few hospitals to integrate pediatric neurosurgery, neurology, psychology, psychiatry, neurodevelopmental pediatrics and rehabilitation in the global care of children. Specialized medical equipment, pediatric patient rooms and pediatric specialists, in addition to a family-centered focus, make the institute and hospital uniquely qualified to treat complex neurological disorders in pediatric patients. For more information, visit:

About the Arizona Department of Economic Security
The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) is the state's human services agency. DES works with families, community organizations, advocates and state and federal partners to realize our collective vision that every child, adult and family in Arizona will be safe and economically secure. Across the agency, DES administers over 40 programs ranging from nutrition and cash assistance to employment services and support for individuals with developmental disabilities. With over 7,500 employees across the state, DES forms an extensive network of human service professionals dedicated to improving outcomes for children and families. We look forward to working with you to create a better tomorrow by providing support today. To learn more, visit


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SOURCE Phoenix Children’s Hospital