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Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment and Services (AARTS) Center

Welcome to the Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment & Services (AARTS) Center. Clinical services at the AARTS Center include comprehensive assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder, bridging gaps to create a seamless continuum of evidence-based care.

Specialists at the AARTS Center believe in a multidisciplinary approach. We work with colleagues throughout the Medical Center while integrating clinical care with research to improve the mental health and quality of life of children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder.

Searching out appropriate supports and services can be daunting - even overwhelming. We are here to assist you and your family with this process. We provide patients and loved ones with services from professionals who are dedicated to providing evidence-based evaluations and treatment options for people with autism spectrum disorder.


  • If you or your child has a professional diagnosis of autism, Rush University Medical Center invites you to learn more about SPARK, a new online research study sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. The mission of SPARK is clear: speed up research and advance understanding of autism by creating the nation’s largest autism study. Joining SPARK is simple – register online and provide a DNA sample via a saliva collection kit in the comfort of your own home. Register online at www.sparkforautism.org/rush or, for more information, contact us at 312-563-2765 or by email at kathryn_a_heerwagen@rush.edu. Please be sure to list Rush as the referring organization so that we can offer support throughout the process.  Together, we can help spark a better future for all individuals and families affected by autism.

    SPARK, a free, online autism genetics study...aiming to recruit 50,000 individuals with ASD
  • The AARTS Center is evaluating two social skills group therapy models for children ages 8 to 11 years old with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participation in these groups would include:

    • 12 weekly social skills group therapy sessions, with a follow-up study visits at 24 weeks.
    • Participation in the study will last approximately 30 weeks.
    • No cost to you for participating and you will receive compensation for evaluation and study visits.
    • Participants will receive a comprehensive evaluation including diagnostic and cognitive testing.
    If you are interested in participating/have any questions about this study, or other study opportunities at the AARTS center, please feel free to contact: Anthony Burns, M.A. at (312) 942-6331 or email Anthony_Burns@rush.edu  ​
    Study of social skills groups for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • The AARTS Center is studying an online intervention called Online RIT. This intervention is for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. Online RIT combines a website with therapist assistance to help parents learn strategies to build social imitation skills in their child with ASD. Half of the families in this study will be randomly assigned to the immediate Online RIT condition, while the other half will be assigned to a delayed Online RIT condition. You and your child may qualify for participation in the study if:

    • You are a parent of a child between 18 and 60 months with a medical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or concerns of ASD
    • Your child has difficulties imitating during social and play interactions
    For more information, please contact Dr. Allie Wainer at (312) 563-3520.​
    Early intervention for ASD research study
  • We are in the process of recruiting participants of all ages who have autism spectrum disorder for Fall. Groups cover a set of social thinking and communication skills, as well as specific areas of need identified for each participant. Groups are separated based on age and skill levels to maximize learning opportunities. For more information, contact Natalie Forburger at (312) 563-2272 or email Natalie_M_Forburger@rush.edu​

    Recruiting for social skills groups at the AARTS Center
MEET OUR TEAM

Tokyo Broom is the Organization Specialist for the AARTS Center.  In this role, he is charged with the development of day-to-day administrative protocols and special projects for the AARTS Center.  Prior to joining the AARTS team, Tokyo worked in an administrative assistance capacity in outpatient psychiatry at Rush. Tokyo studied Psychology at Culver Stockton before traveling and working with MTV for 10 years as an Assistant Production Director in Santa Monica California, New York, and Miami.

Anthony Burns, MA, is clinical research coordinator at the AARTS Center. He has experience providing behavioral intervention to individuals diagnosed with autism, as well as experience working within intervention research settings. Anthony currently assists the AARTS team by providing administrative support for IRB and FDA submissions, and other regulatory processes, as well as assisting in socio-educational group services provided at the center. Anthony also likes to work on collaboration projects, and has a particular interest in social skills groups and sexuality within the context of ASD. 

Natalie Forburger, LCPC, is an outreach coordinator for the AARTS Center and an essential contributor to the Autism Resources Directory powered by the AARTS Center.  She is an Illinois-licensed clinical professional counselor who is committed to building productive relationships within the community to improve quality of life for people with autism.

Katy Heerwagen, MA, is the community outreach specialist for the AARTS Center.  Ms. Heerwagen is also a second-year Master’s student in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Psychology at Loyola University Chicago.  As a graduate trainee at AARTS, she supports Rush Psychiatry’s Autism Clinic, performs school and home-based observations, provides individual psychotherapy, and assists in the evaluation process.  Before joining the AARTS team, Katy worked as a Community Services Assistant with the Autism Society of North Carolina, where she provided direct services and trained new staff.  Prior to that role, she was a Special Education teacher, grades 6-8, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

Ann Hermes Tudor, LCSW, is the executive director of the AARTS Center.   She served in the role of outreach director for the AARTS Center for two years prior to assuming the responsibilities of executive director.   Ms. Tudor is also a clinician and has extensive experience providing therapy to young adults on the autism spectrum and their families.  She previously served as the director of social service for the Little Sisters of the Poor in Chicago where she provided supportive and therapeutic services to residents and their families and worked as a liaison between the agency and the community.  Ms. Tudor was also responsible for programmatic oversight, staff management and education.  Ms. Tudor attended Loyola University’s Graduate school of Social Work.  She received her Bachelor of Art in psychology and sociology from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame.   She is an active member of the National Association of Social Workers.

Louis J. Kraus, MD, DFAPA, FAACAPis the director and founder of the AARTS Center.  Dr. Kraus is also Woman's Board Professor and Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  He is a federal court monitor in a consent decree with the American Civil Liberties Union and the federal Attorney General’s office. In this role, he monitors and makes suggestions regarding mental health treatment at all juvenile justice facilities in Illinois. Kraus is also the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry delegate to the American Medical Association (AMA). His work with the AMA includes serving as the chair of the AMA committee on Science and Public Health. Kraus is on the American Psychiatric (APA) Foundation board and recently finished his term as chair of the Committee of Children Adolescents and Families. While continuing to still be on the committee, Kraus is also on the APA political action committee board of directors. Much of Kraus’ work focuses on child and adolescent psychiatry and the law, and clinical interventions, as well as education work and advocacy for children.


 

Jane Lee, MSW, is a research assistant in the AARTS Center. She coordinates and provides data management support for clinical trials. She has an interest in outreach, where she assists in building up the center’s autism resource directory, as well as being involved with Autism Speaks.

Soo Lee, MDis an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist at the AARTS Center.  Dr. Lee interests are in clinical work, clinical drug trials, and access to care for individuals with autism spectrum disorder.   Dr. Lee has been involved with clinical research as an undergraduate student at Washington University in St. Louis, with psychotropic drug trials in various pediatric psychiatric disorders at the University of Chicago, and drugs trials in autism during her child psychiatry fellowship at Rush University Medical Center.

Rachel Loftin, PhDis clinical director for the AARTS Center. She is on faculty in the psychiatry departments at both Rush University Medical Center and the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Loftin specializes in evaluations, consultation and interventions for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other social challenges. She has an extensive background in educational, behavioral and social intervention approaches for individuals with ASD and related conditions. Dr. Loftin received her Ph.D. from Indiana University and completed pre- and postdoctoral child psychology training at the Yale Child Study Center. Dr. Loftin previously worked in private practice and held a faculty position at the University of Illinois at Chicago. At Yale and UIC, she was involved with several major research studies of ASDs, including studies of early identification of autism. Dr. Loftin consults in criminal and educational legal cases involving people with ASD. Her current research interests include sexuality education for young adults with ASD.

Sophia Martinez, is the Operations Manager for the AARTS Center. She has been with the center for three years, and has taken the administrative lead for the program. Prior to beginning with AARTS, Ms. Martinez was a paralegal at Kirkland and Ellis, LLP. She graduated from the University of Illinois with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminal justice.

Madison Printen is a Clinical Research Coordinator within the AARTS Center. She coordinates various types of research including clinical trials, medication studies, as well as behavioral intervention research. Madison provides support by assisting with IRB submissions, video coding, patient evaluations and facilitating study visits.​

 

Latha V. Soorya, PhD, BCBAis the research director for the AARTS Center.   She is a clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Soorya brings expertise in diagnosis and intervention development to the research program. She has served as the lead psychologist on federally funded, multi-site ASD research programs to guide measurement strategies for clinical trials and genetic studies. Prior to joining the AARTS Center, Dr. Soorya was the Chief Psychologist at the Seaver Autism Center at the Icahn School of Medicine where she oversaw clinical research programming for the genetics, clinical, and pharmaceutical trials.  She completed her graduate training in clinical psychology at SUNY-Binghamton and fellowship at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.  Dr. Soorya has a strong commitment to mentoring and training young professionals and developed psychology externship & fellowship programs at Mount Sinai and Rush.  Dr. Soorya’s research program seeks to develop multi-modal interventions with capacity to address the complex, heterogeneous phenotype of ASD and has been supported by NIH, Autism Speaks, the Brinson Foundation, and NARSAD. Dr. Soorya leads a talented research team at the AARTS Center with current studies focused on evaluating novel pharmacological agents to augment core social deficits in ASD, natural history investigation of rare genetic disorders associated with ASD, and clinical-research registries to promote research participation in the ASD community.

Allie Wainer, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow with the AARTS Center. She has extensive experience with assessment and behavioral intervention for individuals with ASD. She is completing a two year research fellowship, during which she will focus on ways to increase access to intervention for young children with ASD.

Sarah Youngkin, MPH, is a clinical research coordinator within the AARTS Center. She coordinates and supports medication, behavioral and combined treatment research studies within AARTS. She is also trained to administer diagnostic assessments for individuals with ASD and has been working with families with autism for over 10 years.​

Services

​​​​​​​​​​What We Provide:

Specialists at the AARTS Center at Rush University Medical Center believe in a multidisciplinary approach.  We work with colleagues throughout the Medical Center while integrating clinical care with research to improve the mental health and quality of life of children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that appears in early childhood and continues throughout a person’s life.  Signs and symptoms of ASD vary by individual and may evolve as a person gets older.  People may struggle with social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication, and they may engage in repetitive or unusual behaviors.
 
Searching out appropriate supports and services can be daunting.  We are here to assist you and your family in this process.  We provide patients and loved ones with services from professionals who are dedicated to providing evidence-based evaluations and treatment options for people with ASD. Find us on the web at http://www.rush.edu/autism
 
For more information about:
  • Assessments and Diagnostic Evaluations
  • Medication Management
  • Program Evaluations
  • Progress Monitoring
  • Individual, Group, and Family Psychotherapy
Please contact our clinic coordinator at (312) 942-0819 or email: aartscenter@rush.edu

  

Resources for your child and family:

​Please contact Natalie Forburger, our Outreach Coordinator at (312) 563-2272 or email: Natalie_M_Forburger@rush.edu

Clinical research opportunities:
Please contact our research team at (312) 942-5431 or email: Sarah_Youngkin@rush.edu

 
 

Accreditation and Recognition

Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment & Services (AARTS) Center
1645 W. Jackson Blvd.
Westgate Building
Suite 603
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: (312) 942-0819
Fax: (312) 942-2410
Driving Directions

Outpatient Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
West Campus
2150 W. Harrison Street
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: (312) 942-7473
Fax: (312) 942-8576
Driving Directions

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