BANGOR, Maine — For parents of children with autism, it can be a challenge to find the proper care for their kids, especially for families living in Maine's rural areas. But a new autism therapy clinic has opened in Bangor. The clinic fills an important need in the region, according to staff.
Heartleaf ABA located at 396 Griffin Road provides autism treatment through applied behavior analysis therapy, or ABA.
Brian Steinberg, vice president of operations at Heartleaf ABA, said ABA is a type of one-on-one therapy for children with autism. The treatment's goal is to encourage and teach certain behaviors and skills while discouraging others considered undesirable. The hope is to prepare autistic children to function and succeed in everyday settings like public school where they often face many challenges.
“What we do in the ABA center is we create a unique program for each one of those kiddos anywhere ranging from 20 goals that they need to hit up to 500 goals that they need to hit," Steinberg said.
The therapy focuses on social skills, motor skills, eating, and communication and provides services to children ages 2 through 6.
Steinburg said the demand for autism treatment services is only growing, and the new clinic meets the needs of Greater Bangor.
"Bangor has [autism] resources for sure but didn’t have resources quite like this, a center-based therapy center," Steinburg said. "It’s not fair to ask families to drive 45 minutes, hour, hour and a half to find these services. We want to ensure these services are local, available, and accessible."
Another Heartleaf ABA therapy center is scheduled to open in Portland in the near future, Steinburg told NEWS CENTER Maine. The new center will be located across the street from the University of Southern Maine.