The Sunflower Early Education Center (EEC) has recently started offering a new therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is based on the science of learning and behavior. The end goal is to increase helpful behaviors and lessen those behaviors that could be detrimental and affect learning.
“It really looks at finding the child’s strengths and motivation. For young children, it’s really about increasing those pre-learning behaviors; attention to tasks and communication. A lot of our kids are nonverbal or preverbal, so we are working a lot on reinforcing their attempts to communicate,” says Burkhart.
While ABA is relatively new to Kansas, it’s not a novel treatment for the rest of the world.
“Recently, in Kansas, back in 2015, they passed legislation that now mandates insurance companies cover this type of therapy for children who have a diagnosis of autism.”
One in 54 children will be diagnosed with autism, with many kids identified as having ASD as young as age 2. Intensive behavioral intervention at Sunflower is offered to children up to age five or when they start kindergarten. ABA is for children with a medical diagnosis of ASD and a doctor’s referral. EEC staff do not provide autism diagnosis.
The EEC has been working on getting the program for the last two years but is now up and running. The first child enrolled in the program in Jan. 2020.
EEC serves Barton, Rice, Pawnee, Rush, and Stafford counties. For more information, call the Sunflower Early Education Center at 620-792-4087.