Spring Harbor Hospital
Clinician working with a young girl on the developmental disorders unit

Developmental Disorder Care

Intensive treatment at Spring Harbor Hospital represents a critical component of the Glickman Lauder Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders. Inpatient and partial hospitalization services are designed for children and young adults who are not functioning safely outside the home or hospital setting. Specially trained clinicians and care givers achieve excellent patient outcomes through a combination of expert programming, evidence-based protocols, and the individual potential of each patient. 

Our highly-specialized, developmental disorders inpatient unit is one of only a dozen like it in the United States. With an average stay of 30-40 days, patients receive intensive evaluation and treatment for serious behavioral issues that have not responded to other levels of care.

The program is for children ages 4 to 20 who have a developmental disorder, an active IEP, and a current inability to function safely outside the hospital setting. Behaviors treated may include aggression, self-injury, functional impairment and mental health challenges. While in our care, patients receive education through Spring Harbor Academy.

What should I expect when my child is admitted?

Treatment will begin on the day of admission. Parents/guardians will meet with the clinical team to discuss behavioral challenges, questions and concerns. Family involvement is a very important part of the treatment process, including weekly meetings with your child’s clinical team and/or social worker.

As treatment progresses, you may also be invited to "shadow" the care team as they interact with your child. The goal is for you to learn the behavioral program until you feel comfortable following it at home. This will help build confidence so you and your child can be successful after a hospital stay.

Our multi-disciplinary treatment team includes:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Clinicians
  • Behavioral experts
  • Occupational and speech therapists
  • Dieticians
  • Educators

All services are delivered by professionals trained in the unique needs of children with developmental disorders. At all times, we carefully balance each child's need for support with independence. Children are given the opportunity and support to make good decisions and learn from their successes.

Preparing children to return to their lives outside the hospital is our primary focus from day one. Social workers who specialize in this area work to secure placements in the community that will meet the needs of both the child and family. Through strong relationships with community providers and solid after-care planning, we help reduce the likelihood of re-hospitalization. At the time of discharge, families receive a behavioral plan, intervention tools and a recommended schedule to support a successful transition back home.

Our short-term partial-hospitalization program provides telehealth treatment for children and young adults who are experiencing emotional, social or behavioral challenges that impair their ability to function successfully. We provide an intensive weekday treatment program where patients and their families learn and practice new ways to manage emotions and behavior. Treatment usually lasts 3-6 weeks. Our program offers:

  • Rapid, virtual access to treatment for children, adolescents, and young adults who are having significant challenges but do not need full hospitalization
  • A bridge to help patients who are not attending school become reintegrated into a structured, daily routine at home
  • Support for patients who are transitioning back to the community after hospitalization

Behaviors Treated:

  • Emotion dysregulation (tantrums, outbursts, and meltdowns)
  • Non-compliance
  • School refusal
  • Mild to moderate aggression and self-injury
  • Pica (eating non food items)
  • Running away or tendency to wander off

Admission Criteria:

  • A diagnosed autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disability
  • Able to speak in sentences
  • Inability to function well in the community setting
  • Motivated to interact with others virtually
  • Reliable internet access and a computer or mobile device with video and sound capabilities

Patient Referral Process

Patients can be referred by a health care provider or parent/caregiver using the referral form links below. Once a referral is received, our clinical team will review to determine program eligibility. We may request additional records and information. Decisions are typically communicated within 48 hours. Questions? Contact Kate Hallissey, LMSW at 207-661-6347 or DDPHP@mainehealth.org.

Inpatient Referrals

There are two ways to refer someone:

  • Complete this form, print it, and fax it to 207-553-8347
  • Complete this form and click "Submit Form" to email it to us.

Partial Hospitalization Referrals

There are two ways to refer someone:

  • Complete this form, print it, and fax it to 207-553-8347
  • Complete this form and click "Submit Form" to email it to us.

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