First Southern New Mexico Autism Diagnostic Center coming to NMSU

Las Cruces News

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – The first Southern New Mexico Diagnostic Clinic is coming to Las Cruces.

NMSU’s College of Education will be receiving $614,000 in recurring funds and $107,000 in nonrecurring funds from the state to build the center on the campus. 

Currently, the only diagnostic centers in New Mexico is located in Albuquerque. Families who live in Southern New Mexico have to drive hours for a diagnosis. However, those clinics have a two-year wait list. 

“Two years is just too long of a time it gives children the opportunity to develop behaviors that we don’t want them to develop,” said Alfred Valdez, NMSU Dept of Communication Disorders.

According to NMSU, there are consequences to waiting for a diagnosis which includes:

–  A less favorable outcome

– Increased cost for intervention

– Challenging behaviors become more present.

For any child to be treated for Autism they must first be diagnosed. Which is why having access to a diagnostic clinic near home is so crucial for these children.

“Any of us who have had to seek services from a health provider we don’t want to drive from here and take a three or four-hour drive to get medical service. We want the practitioner to be available us, to be close to us. I think that is a very key aspect to this program,” said Alfred Valdez, NMSU Department of Communication Disorders.

According to Valdez, El Paso does have Autism Diagnoses Centers. However, families with New Mexico insurance are limited to what centers they can go to. 

NMSU’s College of Education expects to receive funds by July and hope to open their doors by the end of the year. 

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