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Finding Hope

One in 44. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that is the number of children affected by autism in the United States. Despite the statistics, children with autism, and their families, still find themselves in a place of frustration, isolation and desperation, when it comes to receiving the help needed.

Autism had not yet taken the stronghold it now has on America’s children when Helena Devereux founded Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health in 1912. But the unique philosophy of care she developed then has come to recognize the difficulties families face with autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) today and has helped bring them beyond their feelings of desperation, isolation and frustration—and looking to hope.

“While there are often challenges presented each day, and unfortunately not a quick fix, there’s hope,” says Lindsey Phillips, director of external affairs for Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health. “For families to know that there is a team that is going to support the child and the family through the daily challenges that may continue, and be available to work through situations, is what gives them hope.”

As one of the most comprehensive behavioral healthcare organizations in the country, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health provides services through a unique model that connects the latest scientific and medical advancements to practical, effective interventions in the provision of behavioral health treatment. 

Devereux Florida began operation of its services in 1987 to meet the emotional and behavioral needs of local youth and has grown to a statewide operation. Headquartered in Orlando, Devereux serves over 5,000 children and families each day, supporting some of the most vulnerable members of the community, including those with unique needs—such as youth in need of mental health support, individuals with autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities and children who have experienced trauma.

Because autism can take many forms, and can present itself with other disabilities, the treatment required varies. There is no one-shoe-fits-all formula for getting the help that one may need. But it helps to know there is help for anyone who needs it. 

At Devereux, this means behavior analysts, therapists and care coordinators—along with a myriad of other support systems offered through Devereux—are available to everyone, not just an individual with a specific diagnosis. 

“Devereux has historically, for many years, run two parallel programs—mental health treatment and services for individuals with autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities,” explains Phillips. “We saw the benefit of taking proven elements of both programs, integrating our approach, and supporting families with an individualized plan, improving access to this entire system of resources.” 

As such, Devereux also offers children and adolescents a variety of options when it comes to therapeutic treatment, including a children’s psychiatric inpatient program, residential treatment center, community-based counseling services, care coordination, and a parent education and support network.

“The goal is to minimize the need for deeper end, more intensive treatment options, improve access to preventative services, keep the child safe and stabilized with their family, wrapped with support,” Phillips notes.

As a local parent recently shared, the day their family received support from the Devereux team is “the day our entire family’s lives changed for the better.”  For many families, the support offered through Devereux is the first option that has worked for them, and Phillips explains that seeing this renewed hope is what is so meaningful.

“Seeing the impact that hope has for families to endure the path ahead, is what makes this program so rewarding for us,” Phillips says. “It inspires all of us to want to work harder and help more families relieve some of that burden and develop a plan for continued success.”


Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Florida

Administrative Offices:

5850 T.G. Lee Blvd., Ste. 400