When your child has autism, there’s a lot she needs. A newly expanded resource is making it a little easier. As of October, the Beaumont Autism Center Dearborn has been a rare option offering a full range of services under one roof, from diagnosis to exhaustive treatments and medical follow-up for kids ages 20 months to 18 years old.
“Our facility is a one-stop shop,” says center director Michelle O’Connor-Teklinski of the 33,000-square-foot space. It was co-initiated by Beaumont and the University of Michigan-Dearborn and is part of the Beaumont Center for Exceptional Families. “(Kids) can get specialty medical appointments, ABA therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and see a nutritionist. We can see if mom and dad need help, and they can see our social worker. All in one day.”
Its highly trained staff of 25 can diagnose and work with kids on the spectrum from diagnosis to the transition to adulthood, no matter the severity.
For younger kids, the action happens in three classrooms.
Kids start in classroom one, which focuses on early intervention and basic social skills. It’s divided into booths for one-on-one time with therapists.
From there, kids move to two other classrooms and two playgrounds to work on motor skills, learn basic life skills and interact with their peers – both with special needs and typically developing kids receiving services in the exceptional families center.
“We’re building the core foundation,” says Jason Majchrzak, supervising behavior analyst, “and then we’ll go into the gym or other classrooms to bring everyone together to practice those skills with each other.”
Down the hall is a fully functioning one-bedroom apartment where older kids learn how to live on their own. They navigate kitchen safety, washing clothes, making their own food, learning to vacuum and other basics.
“Families say kids need – but don’t have opportunities to live or experience – this,” O’Connor-Teklinski says. “Most autism treatment centers don’t give kids a real-world living situation (like this).”
A step above
The center also offers “grow with you” equipment like desks and chairs and technology to keep families updated on their child’s progress.
Parents and siblings can find support and programs to help them cope, too.
“We’re there for the parents,” Majchrzak says. “We’ll do whatever we can for them and the child and the family to make sure they get what they need.”
Beaumont Autism Center Dearborn
- Address: 18501 Rotunda Drive, Suite 200, Dearborn
- Phone: 313-996-1951
- Hours: 7 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
Accepts Blue Cross, Blue Care Network, Beaumont Health and Priority insurances