All the Pieces to Soar
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A compassionate, therapeutic environment with the right kind of treatment for severe intellectual or developmental disabilities

Inpatient program helping patients with autism experience fulfilling lives

New Directions Program Logo

Everyone has a unique path in life. We help young people with severe intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDDs), such as autism spectrum disorder, find their way.

The New Directions Program is designed to meet children at their unique skill levels, aiming to boost confidence and  enhance a wide range of abilities. The program also equips caregivers with the tools they need to support continued progress at home, in school, and within the community.

We create the right environment to decrease behavioral dysregulation while teaching social and behavioral skills  — because we’re mending minds.

Specialized care for individuals with severe neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism

Typical characteristics of patients in the New Directions Program include:

  • Patient has exceptionally challenging and maladaptive behaviors that are unable to be controlled utilizing community services
  • Patient has significant medical needs, substantial physical impairments, and intricate communication needs (for example, non-verbal autism with seizure disorder and diabetes)
  • Handicapping aggression to self or others
  • Inability to perform basic activities of daily living (ADLs) or academically appropriate activities
  • Hospital recidivism due to behavior dysregulation
  • Caregiver has exhausted all prior services 
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A personalized approach to treatment for intellectual or developmental disabilities

Children with severe intellectual disabilities and autism have very limited care options. Hospitals will often discharge these patients quickly because of difficult and complex behaviors — which is why Nexus is different. We embrace those we care for because we can make an impact. The New Directions programming and schedule, combined with in-depth virtual and in-person family training, help set families up for success.

Whether the concern be around challenging behaviors, aggression, sleep dysregulation — or many others — we recognize that no two people are alike. That’s why our approach to working with patients with intellectual disabilities is tailored to meet their unique diagnoses. In addition to social and behavioral skills, we also work on communication, fine motor skills, language arts and math skills, name recognition, and strength and dexterity to help complete activities of daily living. Patients thrive in our structured program, which can be continued at home.

Program features that help now and facilitate success at home include:

  • Interdisciplinary, physician-led team, including primary care physicians, psychiatrists, mid-level practitioners, and behavioralists
  • Individualized plans addressing developmental delays, including communication, sensory processing, social interaction, interest/item/activity fixation, and repetitive behavior patterns
  • Therapeutic activities led by formally trained and licensed physical, occupational, and speech therapists, as well as autism specialists
  • Evidence-based milieu therapy and naturalistic teaching (using real-life settings to teach)
  • Integration of academic and cognitive concepts into weekly activities to increase exposure
  • Instruction in pragmatic and social-emotional learning skills
  • Music, art, and animal assistance therapy to encourage attention, participation, self-awareness, and coping skill development
  • Curriculum designed to develop interests, self-confidence, knowledge, and experiences individuals would otherwise not have access to
  • Patient, guardian/family and school training for transition back to home and community
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autism program


“Maddie now lives in her own space — dubbed “Maddie’s House.” A rotating, 24/7 care staff uses the routine she enjoyed at Nexus, allowing her to achieve the highest level of independence possible.”
– Tabitha, Maddie’s Mother

Read Her Story

Nexus is here to help.

Contact us for more information or to refer a patient.

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Evidence-based, thematic curriculum helps patients gain skills and confidence

Structured, thematic curriculum — like weather, ocean animals, and the five senses — helps patients develop skills in communication, cognition, motor abilities, literacy, and mathematical concepts, not to mention social and pragmatic skills. We also teach academic concepts including colors, numbers, and shapes, as well as social-emotional concepts including greetings, emotions, and taking turns.

The New Directions Program uses specific metrics to evaluate progress with communication and developmental behavior. Testing is conducted at admission and throughout the patient’s stay, allowing treatment plans to adapt and evolve as children make progress.  

  • Communication Matrix: Assesses all types of communicative behavior
  • DBC-2: Evaluates emotional and behavioral dysregulation and monitors interventions and medication usage
  • Overt Aggression Scale-Revised (MOAS): Measures destructive verbal and physical aggression
  • Agitated Behavior Scale (ABS): Assesses ongoing disturbed behavior and underlying aggression
  • Wee-FIM: Evaluates progress in formal physical, occupational, and speech therapies
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