Highlands Announces Closure of Center for Autism

November 10, 2017

Prestonsburg, KY – Highlands Health System announced today that at the end of the year, the Highlands Center for Autism will be ending services.  Since, July, 2009, the Highlands Center for Autism has been a leading, full time treatment Center for the children diagnosed on the autism spectrum.  The Center has touched the lives of hundreds of people.  The Center’s staff has achieved national recognition for its work and has been a leading advocate for the use of applied behavior analysis to treat autism spectrum disorders.  Over the years, the staff has been responsible for many miracles and for improving patients and families lives.

The work of the Center has been largely supported by the generosity of individual and corporate donors to the Highlands Foundation.  As our local economy has declined, so have donations to the Highlands Foundation.  Promised insurance coverage for the treatment of autism has also not materialized since 2010 when the Kentucky General Assembly passed House Bill 159.  The cost to operate the program depending on the number of students could be as much as $800,000 annually and there simply are not enough resources to maintain the program on a going forward basis.
The Highlands Center for Autism has traditionally taken a holiday break in December.  During this time, the children will have an opportunity to transition into other programs.  The Center’s staff will assist families through this process.  “The Highlands family is very sad about the closure and at the same time, extremely proud of the work and miracles that have resulted from the Highlands Center for Autism” said Bud Warman, President and CEO of the Health System.