Grand opening celebration for new Autism Discovery Center at Rad - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Grand opening celebration for new Autism Discovery Center at Rady Children's Hospital

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Staff at Rady Children's Hospital hosted an open house at the hospital's new autism center, with a grand opening celebration scheduled for Thursday night.

The $1 million Autism Discovery Center has space for research, diagnosis and treatment of patients, and a school.

Children have been using the center since the first of the year. The 11,685-square-foot center is designed to handle 90 kids on an out-patient basis.

Parents will be able to watch their children interact with other kids through one-way mirrors or cameras that are set up in each room.

There are only two other facilities like it in the United States.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children with autism handle information in their brain differently than most people, and have symptoms that vary in both nature and severity.

The CDC says parents can detect possible autism in their children if they do not respond to their name by the time they are one year old, don't point at objects to display interest by the time they are 14 months, and not play pretend games by the time they are 18 months old.

Other symptoms include avoiding eye contact, wanting to be alone, having delayed speech and language skills, have obsessive interests or give answers unrelated to questions.

A reliable diagnosis of autism can be made when a child is 2 years old, according to the CDC.

The agency says about one in 110 children are afflicted with what they call Autism Spectrum Disorder, which includes autism, Asberger Syndrome - which does not affect intellectual development, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder - who meet some, but not all, of the criteria for the other conditions. The number of affected children is growing, according to the CDC.

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