Pediatric Program

Raising the Standard of Care

The Center for Discovery is the largest provider in New York State for children with complex conditions, such as autism. With 164 residential students and 178 day students, TCFD provides special education services to a total of 342 school age children (ages 5-21). The Pediatric Program includes beautiful, universally designed residences; an integrative nature-based special educational program; medical and clinical services; advanced rehabilitation technology; adaptive physical education; music and art-based therapies; and other innovative programs.

The school program is certified through the New York State Education Department (NYSED), and the residences are certified through the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). These two programs work closely together sharing curriculum and cross over staff to ensure that your child receives a seamless education program.

The program admits students five years of age and older. Discharge dates and length of stay is student specific and determined collaboratively within and amongst the treatment team. Some students stay at TCFD through school graduation and/or age 21, while other students will have the opportunity to step down to a lower level of care after a shorter length of stay. All transition and discharge plans are goal oriented and individualized.

Program Philosophy

Fundamental to our program is the health and vitality of the children we serve. Each child is seen as an individual regardless of diagnosis, and so too is their health. We begin to understand each child’s unique needs with a comprehensive records review and observation(s), followed by a parent/caregiver interview and an administration of a selected core battery of assessments. All of these processes give us critical information about the child’s functioning, needs, and health.

Autism, one of the primary diagnoses of children served in the program, is a neurodevelopmental disorder with many known co-occurring medical and psychiatric conditions. Each child has a unique profile of often complex co-occurring conditions and interactions.  An understanding of this complexity and a whole body approach are critical for children with autism to thrive.

Medical fragility and rare developmental disorders are also primary diagnoses for children served in the pediatric school program. These children often require intensive medical, behavioral, and clinical supports in order to participate in their environment. Each child is evaluated from a whole body perspective and individual programs are designed to meet their needs.

The programs for children with medical fragility and those with Autism Spectrum Disorders are separate programs, but share a common philosophy and curriculum called the HealthE6 Model.