Spaulding and the Tower Foundation Partner to Improve Testing for Autism

Sandwich, MA – As the rates for developmental disabilities steadily increase, parents of children with autism, learning or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder are seeking more testing and resources.  According to the CDC, one in six children in the U.S. is affected by some form of these disorders.  Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod recently announced it has received a 3-year, $130,000 grant from the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation to address the needs of this patient population.  The grant funds a pilot project to introduce, and measure the impact of, Sensory Integration Praxis Testing (SIPT) at Spaulding’s Eileen M. Ward Pediatric Outpatient Center for Children in Sandwich, Massachusetts.     

“This grant will allow us to expand our ability to support and treat youth with developmental disorders such as autism,” said Rob Welch, Vice President of Outpatient Services, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network.  “By adding the grant-supported testing to our clinical capabilities, we hope to further our understanding of effective interventions for children with these disorders.” 

The SIPT is a series of tests to determine if a child has a sensory integration disorder.   The results can help therapists design the most appropriate intervention for the child.  The Tower Foundation grant funds training and certification for three occupational therapists and use of the SIPT in select patients between 4 and 9 years of age who meet specific criteria. 

“SIPT will allow certified clinicians to further refine a preliminary diagnosis in select patients who have not responded to therapeutic intervention as well as expected,” said Tara Souve, PT, Site Manager, Spaulding for Children.  “The grant will enhance our ability to treat these children and measure whether they are reaching their functional goals more rapidly.” 

Each year Spaulding’s Eileen M. Ward Pediatric Outpatient Center for Children in Sandwich treats about 400 children with autism-spectrum disorders.  The center has a dedicated sensory integration gym and offers specialty services, including neurology and neuropsychology clinics, the Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) Program and the Feeding and Swallowing Program.

Spaulding has broad range of expertise in pediatric and adolescent programs at both of its pediatric based outpatient centers at the Eileen M. Ward Pediatric Outpatient Center for Children in Sandwich and the Lurie Center for Autism in Lexington, both of which specialize in autism and developmental disability treatments. Spaulding will explore integrating the testing fully into its programs pending the pilot project results.

The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation seeks to support community programming that helps children, adolescents, and young adults affected by substance abuse, learning disabilities, mental illness, and intellectual disabilities achieve their full potential. The Foundation’s four key areas of interest are mental health, substance abuse, intellectual disabilities and learning disabilities. The grant marks the first partnership between Spaulding and the Tower Foundation. 


About the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

A member of Partners HealthCare, The Spaulding Rehabilitation Network includes Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital-Boston (main campus), a 196-bed facility, as well as Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod. Additional locations include the two long-term care facilities Spaulding Hospital Cambridge and Spaulding Hospital North Shore and two skilled nursing facilities, as well as twenty-three outpatient sites throughout the Greater Boston area. Spaulding is a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School as well as the official rehabilitation hospital of the New England Patriots. Spaulding is the only rehabilitation hospital in New England continually ranked since 1995 by U.S. News and World Report in its Best Hospitals survey with a #5 ranking in 2011. For more information, please visit   

Media Contacts

For media inquiries, please contact the Spaulding Communications Department at (617) 952-5325 or by email