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Partners In Learning to offer Autism services in Rowan County

Currently, an estimated 1 in 44 children are diagnosed with Autism, and 1 in 6 children
are...
Currently, an estimated 1 in 44 children are diagnosed with Autism, and 1 in 6 children are diagnosed with a developmental disability between the ages of 3-17 years old, according to the CDC.(Partners In Learning)
Published: Apr. 17, 2022 at 4:29 PM EDT
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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Partners In Learning continues to advocate for inclusion and early intervention by raising awareness and continually adding services, resources, and support for families.

Partners In Learning hired a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Kelsie Hoilien, to serve as the organization’s Director of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Services, in November of last year. Hoilien is currently negotiating and securing contracts with North Carolina Medicaid and several private insurance companies, with plans to be able to start accepting clients within the next couple of months.

“ABA is the gold standard for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders, and unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult for parents to find service providers in the area due to a lack of Behavior Analysts in the state, long waitlists for evaluation and diagnosis, and oftentimes, even longer waitlists to begin services once a provider is found. Once we are in our new facility, we will be able to serve a lot of clients and provide families in the community with a place where they can receive diagnostic assessment and treatment in the same place,” explained Hoilien.

Families utilizing the clinical services through Partners In Learning will have access to evaluation, ABA Therapy, Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, play therapy, and Occupational Therapy. The center will be Rowan County’s first comprehensive Autism clinic, and also has plans to train its teaching staff in the fundamentals of ABA in order to provide additional support to children with Autism in their classrooms.

Currently, an estimated 1 in 44 children are diagnosed with Autism, and 1 in 6 children are diagnosed with a developmental disability between the ages of 3-17 years old, according to the CDC.

“April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance month and we really wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of understanding the statistics, knowing the signs, and knowing where to get help,” said Hoilien.

Early signs of Autism include delayed speech development, repetitive motor movements or vocalizations, lack of eye contact and joint attention, delayed social and play skills, impulsivity, self-harm, limited interests, and sensory sensitivities.

Cassie Karriker, Early Intervention Director stated “There are 1,825 days between the day a child is born until the day they go to kindergarten. Any opportunity missed during these formative years, is equal to a day lost in kindergarten.”

“We are so thankful for how the community has rallied around our Partnering For Our Future Campaign. Through generous private donors and grants, we have raised $10.2 million toward our $12 million campaign,” says Amy Vestal, Development Director.

SECU Foundation awarded Partners In Learning a $1.5 million dollar challenge grant for its clinical services, which will be named SECU Family Development Clinic.

Partners In Learning provides early intervention services across 16 counties in North Carolina. Partners In Learning has a comprehensive network of services in place for children with special needs regardless of family economic resources.

The new facility will provide space for children to receive an expedited diagnosis and early therapy, offer more family support services, and will include a 13 classroom education center. The organization is still looking for donors to complete the new facility.

There is still a naming opportunity for the Autism Clinic and individual therapy rooms. For more information about becoming a donor, please reach out to Amy Vestal, Development Director at amy@epartnersinlearning.org.

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