Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world – especially for parents of kids with autism. Finding help, education and resources for a child with autism can be a long and frustrating process.
But, help is available at the Providence Autism Center.
Meeting the Demand
Christie Tipton, manager of the Providence Children’s Center, says Washington has a relatively high incidence of autism, with about one in 62 children being diagnosed. (The national rate is one out of every 68 children.)
For the past two years, Providence Children’s Center has been diagnosing and treating children with autism and providing critical support services for their families. However, the physical space and staff devoted to autism treatment were falling short of rapidly-growing demand. Community need was quickly outpacing availability of services, and many families faced long waiting lists – up to 18 months – to access services.
To alleviate this shortage, the Providence Autism Center opened in August. The new center provides comprehensive family education and support in a 3,000-square-foot space, customized to facilitate the type of therapy necessary to impact children with autism. It’s located on the fifth floor of Providence’s Pavilion for Women and Children at 900 Pacific Avenue in Everett. It’s the first center of its kind in Snohomish County.
The Center offers a 12-week, comprehensive treatment program that focuses on teaching foundational skills needed for effective communication, adaptive skills and positive behavior management that helps children transition into school. Parents are included in the program and must commit to seven hours of education each week for the duration of the program.
Christie says her team works with a child’s deficits and strengths and develops a plan that focuses on the strengths. “Treatment and education at an early age are very effective in helping these kids and families be successful,” she says. “When autism is diagnosed early, we can teach coping behaviors that help a child to communicate wants and needs, self-soothe when over-stimulated, and do well in school,” Christie says.
The Center’s goal is to serve 64 children and their families in its first year.
Children are accepted into the program only after being diagnosed by a qualified provider. To learn more, call (425) 258-7097.