Don Lawrence knows the frustration and helplessness of not being able to find adequate resources to help an autistic child navigate and thrive in the world around him. Much of what he and his wife were able to find for their son over the past two decades came through their own research and perseverance.
The opportunity to channel his experience, findings and challenges into the design of the Children’s Hospital of Orange County’s new Thompson Autism Center, has proved to be a profound and important journey for him.
“As the parent of an autistic son, I can tell you it’s a nightmare to try and find resources,” said Don, a healthcare planner with Blue Cottage of CannonDesign, who helped design the Thompson Autism Center. “There was no center like this when my son was born, so it was a real challenge for me and my wife to find the resources to get interventions. Now that there’s more awareness of autism, we’ve seen more and more providers noticing and diagnosing autism early. Intervention at a facility like this can make a huge difference in their lives.”
The Thompson Autism Center at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County exists to help evaluate children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is one of a few clinics fully dedicated to patients with autism. Courtesy: CannonDesign[/caption]
As diagnosis continues to improve and the incidence of autism continues to rise, the demand for tailored spaces like the Thompson Autism Center will also increase. Designed with diligent research, interviews and planning, this center will be a benchmark for others across the country and allow for early diagnosis and early invention, resulting in improved learning, communication and social skills for children with ASD. The center is also distinct as a resource and community for the families and loved ones of autistic children, who are used to being their own support system. The Thompson Autism Center is a space for care, compassion and hope, and a beacon for the ASD community.