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New clinic offers specialized therapy for autism in Abilene

By Mari Cockerell, mcockerell@ktxs.com
Published On: Apr 09 2013 03:46:44 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 05 2013 11:18:29 AM CDT

April is autism awareness month, and for the first time, folks in the Big Country can share this message while also taking advantage of a special kind of therapy.

"The earlier we get in there and teach them those skills, the more they're going to progress and be able to apply what they know, and that's what we do in my clinic," said Melissa Richardson, founder of the West Texas Autism Center.

Richardson is using what's called Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy. After working with special education children for more than 35 years within public schools, Richardson has founded the West Texas Autism Center at West Texas Rehab last June. Unlike other therapies, ABA works to identify and reach specific behavioral goals.

"Maybe they would just point or pull on the parent or cry or misbehave in some way to communicate, and now they're using words," said Richardson.

The work Richardson does in her clinic is not limited by age. She has a client who is 27; and another who is just 2 years old. "Early intervention is key. We want to start as early as possible. My youngest child is 2, and that's not too young, that's the ideal time," said Richardson.

Click here if you'd like to see a list of possible signs of Autism.