HARRISBURG, Pa. — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 44 eight-year-old children will be identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD.
The growing need for resources, therapy and counsel for children with autism has one company expanding its services through central Pennsylvania.
“As you see the population increase, the population of autism is increasing as well, and hence us moving out here,” said Katheleen Stengel, CEO of NeurAbilities. "There are not many other service providers that are expanding to meet that need."
NeurAbilities Healthcare has several locations and recently opened a new facility in Harrisburg on Thursday.
The new clinic treats patients of all ages, but a specific room was designed for children.
“We’re not trying to fix the autism; we’re trying to give them skills to reach their goals,” said Stengel.
The invention room offers a unique and playful opportunity for children to learn a wide range of skills including communication and socialization. The “inventions" theme also offers an indoor play area, special lights for sensory sensitivities and individual and group therapy rooms.
“What we wanted to do is display our innovations and partner ourselves with some of the great inventions that happened in Pennsylvania, but it also allows us to use the visuals as education opportunities,” said Stengel.
The invention room is filled with bright colors and a mural of a park with paintings of all things invented in Pennsylvania. Stengel said many people didn’t know things like the slinky was made by Richard T. James, who lived in Pennsylvania, in 1943.
Stengel also said the new facility brings jobs to the Harrisburg area and provides an education for students who want to go into the children's behavior field.
“With the increase in the number of diagnoses, it also means an increase in the number of possible opportunities to work with our patient population, and we’re always hiring,” said Stengel.
Services also expand to patients of all ages who are experiencing any kind of neurological conditions, including patients who are epileptic or suffer from a brain injury, ADHD, Tourette's syndrome and more.
The open house is free to the public and will run from noon to 4 p.m. The new clinic is located at 353 Markle Drive, Suite 4, Harrisburg. More information and a list of locations can be found here.