News Article Details

New autism treatment center opens in Costa Mesa

Orange County Register - 11/9/2018

Nov. 09--A new autism therapy center serving children, adolescents and young adults opened its doors in Costa MesaThursday, Nov. 8.

This is the first autism treatment center in California owned and operated by Centria, a Michigan-based company that has 23 other centers nationwide, said Rick Loewenstein, chief strategy and growth officer.

The center, he said, will focus on Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, a therapy based on the science of learning and behavior. The goal of ABA therapy in autism is to increase behaviors that are more conducive to learning and development in real-world scenarios.

The center will accept all health insurance plans and Medi-Cal through CalOptima, Loewenstein said.

"A child could be diagnosed as early as 24 months," he said. "We take children of all ages and adults up to the age of 21. Most kids come to us at under 12."

Centria has been providing home-based therapy for several years in Orange County, but this is the first time those children will have an opportunity to come into a center and interact with others, which could be a valuable experience for youth on the autism spectrum, Loewenstein said.

"They'll work on social and behavioral skills at the center, performed by behavioral technicians and supervised by board-certified clinicians," he said.

There is a significant need for these services in Orange County. A report released by Chapman University in 2016 showed that the county has the highest number and rate of children with autism in the state and saw an eight-fold increase in cases over the 15-year study period.

About 19 percent of all Orange County children and young adults age 3 to 22, who are in special education, have been diagnosed with autism. That's a dramatic increase from 2000 when under 3 percent were labeled autistic, according to the report.

Centria's Costa Mesa center is at 151 Kalmus Drive. Information: centriaautism.com

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(c)2018 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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