UNT offering low-cost autism services

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 13:56

DENTON (UNT), Texas - The Kristin Farmer Autism Center at the University of North Texas is offering low-cost autism services to local families.

A $167,000 grant, awarded by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Children’s Autism Program, is allowing the center to serve up to 28 families per year who otherwise could not afford the cost of intensive autism treatment. So far, the center has used $66,000 of the grant, helping 14 families.

“Thanks to this program we have already impacted the lives of many children who otherwise wouldn’t have received high quality autism services,” said Kevin Callahan, executive director of the Kristin Farmer Autism Center. “We hope that any family in need will contact us about how we might be able to help their child improve critically important social communication skills and behaviors.”

The grant allows UNT to serve children ages 3-15 who can benefit from focused intervention using evidence-based autism treatments known as applied behavior analysis. The grant will pay for a significant portion of the total costs of the therapy. Applied behavior analysis services are often not covered by health insurance and the cost may be more than many families can afford to pay on their own.

Children in the autism center’s program can receive as many as 30 hours of focused therapy per month aimed at improving language and communication, social skills and adaptive behaviors. The center’s intervention also can target other challenging behaviors that children with autism spectrum disorder often struggle with.

Susan Nichols, associate executive director at the Kristin Farmer Autism Center, said she and her staff are happy to be able to continue serving additional clients in the future.

“The UNT treatment model provides effective, individualized and research-based intervention,” said Nichols. “Working collaboratively with parents to ensure the best possible outcomes is an important part of our total team approach.”

The Kristin Farmer Autism Center has been actively involved in efforts to evaluate the Children’s Autism Program and other innovative autism treatments, which could further expand access to effective autism programming for Texas families. For information about enrolling for services with the center, please contact Dawn Towne at 940-369-5015.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108