Autism Diagnostic Center sees high demand

The Autism Diagnostic Center at NMSU has yet to debut its physical location inside of O’Donnell Hall, but is already seeing a high demand for its services from families throughout New Mexico.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the center offers telehealth services to children under 36 months old in need of a diagnostic evaluation for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

In order to receive treatment, a child must have a medical diagnosis of ASD from a qualified evaluation provider. While there are several autism evaluation providers throughout New Mexico, the state’s only other diagnostic center is located at the University of New Mexico, which has up to a two-year wait for a diagnostic assessment. Such a lengthy wait could result in delayed access to necessary intervention services, an increased lifetime cost of care and less favorable outcomes.

At the NMSU Autism Diagnostic Center, evaluations are performed by Cosette Montañez, who leads the center’s interdisciplinary team. She is a licensed psychologist and associate professor in the Department of Communication Disorders. She also is an Applied Behavior Analysis Stage 1 Autism Evaluation Practitioner and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

“We’ve had referrals from 13 counties, including from as far away as Farmington,” Montañez says. “There is such a long wait everywhere, and the pool of diagnostic evaluation providers in the state is very limited.”

For more information, call the Autism Diagnostic Center at 575-646-3177.

Adriana M. Chávez ’19