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

Welcome to the Autism Assessment, Research and 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.

MEET OUR TEAM

Natalie Forburger, MA, LPC, is the director of the Autism Resource Center. She is an Illinois-licensed professional counselor who is committed to building productive relationships within the community to improve quality of life for people with autism. ​

Ann Hermes Tudor, LCSW, is the outreach director for the AARTS Center and group therapy lead clinician for outpatient services. Ms. Hermes Tudor received her Bachelor of Art in psychology and sociology from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame and attended Loyola University’s Graduate school of Social Work.   Prior to joining the Rush Family she served as the director of social service in a residential setting. In this role, she not only provided supportive and therapeutic services to residents and their families but also worked as a community liaison. Ms. Hermes Tudor also has extensive experience providing therapy to children and their families. She is an active member of the National Association of Social Workers

Niranjan Karnik, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and by courtesy Nursing, graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign.  He then completed his General Psychiatry residency and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship at Stanford University/Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital. While at the University of Illinois, he completed his PhD in Sociology and has subsequently completed a fellowship in Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago.

Louis Kraus, MD, Associate Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Section Chair.  He completed medical school at the Chicago Medical School and did his psychiatry training at Northwestern University. He completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Chicago. He is board certified in general psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry and forensic psychiatry.

Much of Kraus’ work focuses on the interface of child and adolescent psychiatry and the law, educational work and advocacy for children. His lectures and writing focus on issues dealing with autism, delinquency and advocacy. Kraus is medical director for the Easter Seals Therapeutic Schools, where children and adolescents with autism receive services. He is in charge of the psychiatric services through Rush at the Orthogenic School, a residential school in Hyde Park. Kraus also consults with approximately 15 school districts in Chicago and the northern suburbs, as well as the Department of Justice related to civil rights violations of incarcerated children.


Rachel Loftin, PhD, Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and clinical director of the Autism Assessment, Research and Treatment Services (AARTS) Center. Dr. Loftin is trained in clinical and school psychology, with an emphasis in evaluation, consultation and intervention for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) of all ages. She has extensive training in psychological testing, as well as expertise in educational, behavioral and social interventions. Dr. Loftin earned her doctoral degree at Indiana University, Bloomington, and completed her pre and post-doctoral fellowships in developmental disorders at the Child Study Center at Yale University's School of Medicine. She is a board member of Community Support Services and AACTION Autism, as well as an advisor for Infiniteach.​

Thomas Owley, MD, Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, medical director of the ADHD medication clinic and of the Autism Assessment, Research and Treatment Services (AARTS) Center.  He graduated from the University of Illinois School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. He completed his General Psychiatry residency at the University of Illinois-Chicago and his Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship at the University of Chicago.  He later completed his Forensic Psychiatry fellowship at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City, New York.  He is triple board certified in General Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry. ​

Latha Soorya, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, board certified behavior analyst (BCBA), and Assistant Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  Dr. Soorya’s clinical and research interests include assessment and treatment with individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  She completed her doctorate at Binghamton University, internship at the May Institute in Boston, and fellowship training at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, NY.  She joined the faculty at RUMC’s Department of Psychiatry in 2012 as part of our growing program in ASD. Her clinical expertise includes the diagnosis of ASD, behavior management (parent and school-based) approaches, and cognitive behavioral interventions for people with ASD.  Along with her colleagues in the Autism Assessment, Research, and Treatment Services (AARTS) Center, Dr. Soorya is building an active, clinical research program focused on bringing effective, evidence-informed interventions for core and associated symptoms of ASD into communities.

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:

Evaluations: Understanding a patient's strengths and challenges helps us put together an effective treatment plan.
 
Diagnositic evaluation: We use comprehensive, best-practice diagnostic assessments to determine if an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis is appropriate, as well as to rule out other psychiatric concerns.
 
Other evaluations: Other types of evaluations help us identify specific areas in a patient's life that may require a change in treatment plan. These evaluations include the following:
  • Progress monitoring measures wheter a patient has made progress in his or her treatment or educational program.
  • Evaluations to aid in transition planning identify new treatment goals for patients as changes in life circumstances occur.
  • Vocational assessments identify the particular skills each patient needs to learn in order to gain - or be successful in - employment.
  • Program evaluatons look at a patient's school, work or social circumstances to ensure that those environments are conducive to patient success.
 
Treatment
  • Group therapy for social skills and anxiety management
  • Individual parent training sessions
  • Individual therapy sessions with the patient for teaching social skills
  • Psychiatric medication management
  • Seminars for parents on topics that may affect patients' everyday lives (e.g., bullying, social media)
  • Supportive psychotherapy for parents, siblings and significant others
 
Consultation, Advocacy and Support
  • Advocacy on behalf of patients throughout their development, including evaluations that help establish their eligibility for social support services and to help ensure proper placement and support services in school and community settings.
  • Custody evaluation and mediation for divorcing parents.
  • Expert witness testimony in legal (forensic) cases involving children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder.
  • Training and consultation for those who work with people with autism spectrum disorder.
  • Access to the Rush Autism Resource Center, which links patients and families to additional appropriate services in order to improve the development of people with autism and related disorders.
 
Clinical Trials
The AARTS Center offers the opportunity to enroll in clinical trials aimed at improving the effectiveness of treatments for people with autism spectrum disorders. Our clinical research program evaluates currently used behavioral and medication treatments as well as new treatment options.

Accreditation and Recognition

Autism Assessment, Research & Treatment Services (AARTS) Center
1645 W. Jackson Blvd.
Westgate Building
Suite 600
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: (312) 942-7473
Fax: (312) 942-8576
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

Practice Resources

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