Dylan RocheTricia Fare (center left), assistant clinic director, and her staff at Turning Point Educational Services ensure the therapy process is fun for children by incorporating a variety of play environments.
Turning Point Recognizes Autism Awareness Month
April is National Autism Awareness Month, the time of the year dedicated to promoting autism awareness and acceptance, and to recognize the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States, where tens of thousands of people are diagnosed with autism each year.
Severna Park’s Turning Point Educational Services celebrated its first anniversary in January and continues its goal of providing the most effective behavior-analytic therapy services to children on the autism spectrum while bringing awareness to autism.
“Most importantly,” added Tricia Fare, assistant clinic director at Turning Point, “we know we’re working with children and strive to create a fun environment.”
To aid the therapy process, Turning Point incorporates a variety of kid-friendly playing environments, including a doctor’s office, bistro and grocery store. “They’ll be spending lots of hours in the clinic, so we include a lot of play time and a lot of interaction with peers,” said Fare.
Turning Point Educational Services focuses on providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services, considered the “gold standard” of care for those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. While ABA is not a cure, it has been shown to significantly reduce many behaviors that can interfere with a child's development.
Current scientific research shows children on the autism spectrum receive optimal benefits when provided 30 to 40 hours of ABA therapy per week. Continuous and consistent treatment will prevent skill deterioration as well as improve the child's level of functioning within the home, community and school. The National Standards Report issued by the National Autism Center recommends children receive at least 25 hours per week of an established treatment for 12 months per year and that treatment begin as soon as possible.
Turning Point offers ABA therapy for children on an individualized, one-on-one setting, and its current case load includes children from 2- to 11-years-old. “Every child’s behavior plan is very individualized to each child to address their specific needs,” said Fare.
Fare is a firm supporter of ABA therapy and advises parents to do their research when comparing other autism therapies to ABA. “There are many therapies out there that claim to do many things, but they don’t,” she warned. “Look for evidence-based proof and research to back up any therapy’s claims.”
The process of identifying autism can be a confusing time for parents. Fare said initial signs of autism could include children around 18-months-old who are not making eye contact and children who aren’t using toys as intended. The parents would first talk to their pediatrician, who would then consult with a developmental pediatrician for a closer examination if necessary. Most patients are referred to Turning Point by a developmental pediatrician.
Fare emphasized Turning Point’s staff includes both full-time and part-time behavioral analysts dedicated to their fields. All of its technicians are working on their graduate programs to become behavioral analysts. “Everyone is dedicated to behavioral analysis and looking for it to be their careers,” stressed Fare.
Turning Point welcomes prospective families to come to the clinic for a tour and assessment. Parents can contact Turning Point Educational Services at 800-676-5130, or visit www.turningpointinbehavior.com for more information or to fill out a prospective client request form.