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.
SPARK, a free, online autism genetics study...aiming to recruit 50,000 individuals with ASD
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Study of social skills groups for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
Early intervention for ASD research study
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.
Recruiting for social skills groups at the AARTS Center
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
MEET OUR TEAM
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 a 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
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.
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, FAACAP, is 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
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, MD, is 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, PhD, is 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.
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
Latha V. Soorya, PhD, BCBA, is 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
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.
Accreditation and Recognition
Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment & Services (AARTS) Center
1645 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: (312) 942-0819
Fax: (312) 942-2410
Outpatient Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
2150 W. Harrison Street
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: (312) 942-7473
Fax: (312) 942-8576