Autism Center Receives New Name, Offers Same Great Programs

Date: March 11, 2013

The Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University is changing the name of their Autism clinic. Previously known as the Autism Assessment, Research and Intervention Clinic, AARIC is now called the Autism Clinic at Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center. According to program directors Drs. Jeni Ganz and Mandy Rispoli, along with program manager Dr. Amy Heath, the name change “Just made sense.”

The Autism Clinic at Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center is currently seeking children to participate in evidence-based programs and interventions. There are also private and small group intervention clinics offered for children ages 3-5, children ages 6-10, and even in-home intervention clinics for those who prefer private intervention at home. Assessment services are also offered at the clinic, for those seeking an evaluation of their child who is suspected of having autism spectrum disorder. These assessment and intervention services offered at the Autism Clinic are the unique to the Brazos Valley area. The area’s only clinic of its kind, the clinic utilizes Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and is supervised by Board Certified Behavior Analysts.

Applied Behavior Analysis is an approach, supported by decades of research, used to modify behavior and teach new skills by investigating why behaviors do or do not occur, then carefully designing interventions to teach new skills and decrease undesirable behaviors. The approach is also used for continuous data and information collection to determine what intervention strategies are working and then to modify instructional practices as needed. This is an intensive approach, which is tailored to each child. A high ratio of instructors to students (usually one instructor per 1-2 children), instruction is planned to occur during nearly all activities at clinic, and materials are developed and implemented to support learning.

The Autism Clinic hopes to grow its program impact in the coming year, to be able to offer their services to more children who need them. The group is seeking donors to help families in the community cover the cost of autism interventions, which are expensive. One semester (12 weeks) of intensive autism intervention for one preschool-aged child costs approximately $8,500.  Many families are unable to pay – even when insurance covers a portion of the service. “We are always in need of small and large donations to help purchase educational materials and provide services for families with great needs, but who have few means to access services. The community can also lobby state and US congress people to encourage legislation to require insurance and social services to provide evidence-based, intensive interventions, “ said Dr. Jeni Ganz.

To find more information about The Autism Clinic at Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center, log on to http://txautism.tamu.edu, call (979) 979-776-2872, or email autism [at] eastersealsetx [dot] org. The Autism Clinic at Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center is a partnership between the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University, Easter Seals East Texas, and Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center.