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New facility a ‘one stop shop’ for children with autism


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WESTFORD — A new treatment facility for children with autism has opened its doors in Westford.

Autism Care Partners opened its 23rd center in Westford at 515 Groton Rd., providing a new avenue of treatment for children with autism, as well as their families.

“We chose to open the center here because we saw a massive need [in the region],” Jessican Sullivan, the center’s lead registered behavioral technician told WestfordCAT.

The center treats children as young as 2 years old, aiming to prepare students with language deficits to enter school.

“The goal is to get students before they go to school so we can address any needs ahead of time,” Sullivan said.

Students as old as 12 years old can participate in an after-school program with the center.

“One big thing we’re focusing on is providing a social school curriculum in the after school,” the center’s director Ciara Newcomb told WestfordCAT.

She continued, “we’re also focusing heavily on the early learners to get them prepared to enter kindergarten because transition can be hard.”

Each child enrolled in the program will receive one to one care, according to Newcomb. The program uses a proprietary method licensed by Boston Children’s Hospital called the Visual Immersion System, where graphics and visuals are used to teach students with language deficits.

“We had this student that had ‘Lego towers’ of words, where he could say things like ‘I want pop’ or ‘go see daddy,'” Kara Morrison-Smith, the center’s director of partnerships told WestfordCAT. “He’s saying full sentences, but he cannot break up his Lego towers and snap a piece off and rearrange his words. ”

She continued, “This is what you and I do with language, we manipulate words and the  semantic relationships to express exactly what we want. But this is what we’re hoping achieve with the Visual Immersion System [for those with language deficits].”

According to Chief Executive Officer Jim Spink, the center can provide a “one stop shop” for families to diagnose and treat children.

“We can diagnose children and give them a referral,” he told WestfordCAT. “We remind parents that they can go anywhere after the diagnosis, but we hope they work with us.”

He continued, “Students can receive treatment, and we even offer therapy to parents and siblings who need it. The parents are traveling back and forth [between clinics] but now it’s all in one area.

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Ben Domaingue
Ben Domainguehttps://www.clippings.me/bendomaingue
Ben Domaingue has previously worked at newspapers in New Hampshire and is the Managing Editor covering Westford. He’s passionate about community journalism, photography and hiking. Email him at bdomaingue@westfordcat.org.