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Published: July 26, 2018 Author: Staff reports

The Southeastern Ohio Interdisciplinary Assessment Team (SEO-IAT) is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month. This team was developed through Integrating Professionals for Appalachian Children (IPAC) and funded by a grant. The SEO-IAT is a group of professionals interested in improving services to young children with developmental concerns and began seeing children in July 2008 with the goal of providing interdisciplinary assessment in southeast Ohio for children from birth to eight years of age who display multiple areas of delay. Prior to the formation of the SEO-IAT, children traveled to Columbus or Cincinnati to receive these types of evaluations.

“With the Southeastern Ohio Interdisciplinary team, families have had a local resource to turn to with concerns about their child’s development and, specifically, concerns about Autism Spectrum Disorder. They no longer have to make the 160-mile round trip trek to Columbus to get services equated with a major children’s hospital,” said Sue Meeks, a family navigator from the Heritage College of Medicine and member of the team.

“The development of the SEO-IAT has provided a long-lasting collaboration with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and it continues with the recent implementation of a multi-disciplinary team that follows the development of children born with neonatal abstinence syndrome,” she continued. “Both clinics enable earlier identification and intervention, allowing for much better outcomes in the long run.”

SEO-IAT has had many changes throughout its 10 years with local providers and providers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital but has maintained its quality services throughout. To date, the team has had 264 referrals for children from Athens, Hocking, Vinton, Meigs, Perry, Jackson, Lawrence, Washington and Fairfield Counties.

The team is currently comprised of Meeks, Brandie Nance, audiologist and team coordinator with the Ohio University Hearing, Speech and Language Clinic in OHIO’s College of Health Sciences and Professions, along with Sarah Taylor, a speech-language pathologist with the clinic, Leatha Clark, physical therapist for the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute, Jane Hamel-Lambert, child psychologist with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Lindsay Bartram, a behavioral development pediatrician with Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Due to demands of clinic time and needs of children served, the team now assists children up to six years of age. The top referral question is whether a child has autism. Children are referred by physicians in the area, school systems, speech-language therapists and sometimes word of mouth. The process to refer a child to the SEO-IAT starts with a referral to Meeks who meets with the family to determine the family’s concerns and needs. She can be contacted at the Heritage College of Medicine at 740-593-9534. 

The team meets once a month to provide assessments and feedback to the families. The typical process requires two to three visits with families to complete the assessment and review the results.