BY MARY BEVANS GILLETT Special to the Record-Eagle
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — One in 50 school-age children are affected by autism spectrum disorder, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Center for Health Statistics. A Traverse City treatment center, The Autism Center of Northern Michigan, opened in March to work with autism-diagnosed area children and their families.
Owner Jordan Boudreau said the for-profit center provides applied behavior analysis, including individualized treatment plans, one-on-one tutoring, outreach and early intervention. It differentiates itself by providing evidence-based services that use current, peer-reviewed research.
“We saw a need in the community for this type of support,” Boudreau said.
An evidence-based approach is data-based, with each client plan having useful learning objectives, measurable targets and a data collection system to evaluate progress and modify quickly as needed.
The facility is in Traverse City but most direct client services are provided in homes, allowing staff to work with families, as well as the individual child affected by autism.
“A major part of our program is parent training,” Boudreau said.
Additional services provided at the center include early intervention programs for young children, evaluations and social skills groups.
Boudreau leads a seven-person staff. He and two other staff members are Board Certified Behavior Analysts who develop and oversee treatment. Additional staff includes paraprofessionals, tutors and administrative support. Their service area includes much of northwest Michigan, including Traverse City, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Cadillac, Houghton Lake, Kalkaska, Gaylord and nearby areas.
Clients access services through referral by a psychologist followed by an initial consultation to get to know the child and parents or caretakers, as well as their desired outcomes from treatment. Individualized plans are then developed along with insurance authorizations, and services begin. Plans may average 20 hours per week but vary by individual. Progress is monitored and adjusted as needed.
Boudreau hopes to grow the business over the next five years and ultimately use the Traverse City center as a base for up to three more satellites to serve all of northern Michigan and the eastern Upper Peninsula.
He said his former office in Colorado grew from 13 clients to 130 within a year, and he foresees similar growth in Michigan. The center currently works with 15 clients and their families, and is subcontracted through Central Wellness Network in Benzie County and North Country Community Mental Health.
Boudreau and his family relocated from Colorado to Boyne City in 2012 to be closer to their families in Michigan. They moved to Traverse City this year to open the center.
The Autism Center of Northern Michigan is located a mile south of South Airport at 990 S. Garfield, Suite B and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call 231-668-4909 or visit www.autismcenternm.com.