A Home For Dr Trefferts Work On Autism And Savant Syndrome

A world-renowned autism and savant syndrome expert and Agnesian HealthCare have teamed up to give children more than hope. Agnesian will open the Treffert Center this spring. Dr. Darold Treffert has been studying savant syndrome for more than 50 years. But he’s headquartered his institute out of his home and now the Center in Fond du Lac will be the place where others can benefit from his studies. Agnesian President Steve Little says they will spend about $500,000 to renovate and modify the former Children’s Choice Day Care Center. He says it will serve the Treffert Center’s needs and the needs of the children that will also be using it. The Treffert Center will feature the Treffert Library, Treffert Academy and Agnesian Autism, Behavior and Communication Center. The Treffert Academy will serve the needs of children ranging in age from three to 12 years old whether they have an identified need or not. 

Left to right: Dr. Matt Doll, Agnesian President Steve Little, and Dr. Darold Treffert.

Agnesian Press Release:

 For more than 40 years, Agnesian HealthCare has benefited from a partnership with Darold Treffert, MD, a world-renowned autism and savant syndrome expert. A psychiatrist, Dr. Treffert has been studying savant syndrome for more than 50 years. He served as a consultant to the movie Rain Man, in which Dustin Hoffman portrayed an autistic savant.

            During this time, Agnesian HealthCare has worked to enhance the services it offers area families with children facing autism, ensuring early diagnosis and intervention resulting in improved outcomes.

Now, Agnesian HealthCare – in concert with Dr. Treffert – is bringing all these services together under the umbrella of the Treffert Center, located at 371 E. 1st Street in Fond du Lac. Plans call for the Treffert Center to tentatively open in spring 2016.

“We’re excited about partnering with Dr. Treffert to carry on his great works through the Treffert Center,” says Matt Doll, PhD, director of Behavioral Health Services/Autism. “At its core, the Treffert Center invites individuals, families and communities worldwide to explore the potential of the human mind, focusing on strengths rather than limitations. It seeks to preserve, make available and expand Dr. Treffert’s legacy as an internationally respected researcher in autism, savant syndrome and related conditions.”

The Treffert Center will feature the Treffert Library, Treffert Academy, and Agnesian Autism, Behavior and Communication Center (AABCC).

“The challenge is how to tap into the potential and hidden talent within all of us,” says Dr. Treffert. “This is what we are trying to do at the Treffert Center by taking a strength-based approach to child care, as well as our assessments and treatments.”

The Treffert Library makes available an international treasure of books, videos, documentaries, journals, art works and periodicals on autism, savant syndrome (developmental and acquired), hyperlexia (early reading) and other types of exceptional brain performance, promoting and carrying out further research on these conditions along with dissemination of reliable information about these conditions for parents, professionals, students, media and the general public. 

“While most of us fall into the normal range of functioning, we have learned from acquired savants that we all have a great deal more hidden potential,” Dr. Treffert explains. 

The Treffert Academy provides a preschool and after-school experience designed to provide a foundation for a strong mind, body and spirit based on early education focused on play, movement, self-regulation and social understanding. It gives children ages three to 12 the opportunity to gain the skills and experience to reach their full potential and enter school ready to learn.

The Treffert Academy is designed to benefit all children whether they have an identified need or not.

From the moment you walk into our newly-redesigned center, you will feel the energy and support of your child no matter their individual needs,” according to Dr. Doll. “An inclusive environment benefits both typically developing children as well as children with an identified need.”

The Treffert Academy will offer full-time and part-time care, serving the needs of children ranging in age from three to 12 years, with a three-year and four-year curriculum, and after school care (ages three to 12). The center will be open year round with the exception of holidays from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Agnesian Autism, Behavior and Communication Center (AABCC) provides state-of the-art comprehensive, multidisciplinary diagnosis and treatment for a variety of behavior and communication disorders, including autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adults. 

Center-based services include access to a physician, nurse practitioner, occupational therapist, speech language pathologist, psychologist and psychotherapist. Working together this team of professionals identifies strengths and generates solutions for individuals that are struggling with single or multiple challenges.

Agnesian Beyond Boundaries of Autism (ABBA) extends their in-home services to include center-based services for those children enrolled in their program, allowing families to maximize therapy hours.

            For more information, call (920) 907-3967 or visit treffertcenter.com.