Florida Families Have a New, Effective Option for Autism Therapy in Hopebridge
August 16, 2021
Why Florida’s Kids will Benefit from Hopebridge’s Diagnostics, ABA, Speech and Occupational Therapy Programs
As many families around the country have learned, receiving an autism diagnosis for their children is not the end; it’s the start to a new world. But now that they have answers, another question often arises: how can they best enter this world?
While the initial diagnostic evaluation opens doors for autistic children, navigating the next steps and finding quality care like ABA therapy for them can be tricky, which we learned is the case for many Florida families.* From areas without access to autism therapy at all, to others with wait lists longer than six months, we at Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers knew we had to do something to get these kids the help they need – sooner! – during such pivotal developmental years.
To provide better support for Florida families who want to see their children thrive, we are bringing our evidence-based autism services and vast experience into the state with up to 30 centers over the 12 to 18 months, starting along the Gulf Coast in Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Fort Myers and Brandon, FL. As part of Hopebridge’s vision for Florida, our goal is to decrease the wait time for applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy) and other center-based autism services like speech therapy, feeding therapy and occupational therapy. To do this, we will begin scheduling diagnostic assessments for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and ABA therapy evaluations in August 2021, with a plan to open for full- and part-time therapy in October 2021.
3 Reasons why Florida will Benefit from the Expansion of Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers:
There is a need for earlier identification in Florida. While our research shows that as a whole, Florida is better than the national average for autism diagnoses, there is still work to be done for the autism community across the state. Many of Florida’s children are already preschool age before they receive a diagnosis, with nearly 25% of them waiting longer than 6 months to be diagnosed, which means they lost valuable time when they could have been building school preparation skills. With the new Hopebridge centers in Florida, we plan to reduce these wait times to as little as 45 days within the communities we serve.
There is a demand for easier, quicker access to ABA and other autism therapies in FL. Our biggest concern for Florida’s families is their access to early intensive behavioral interventions (EIBI). Once children are diagnosed with autism, our data shows children may not be receiving the therapies they need to live more independent lives. More than half of these families are on a wait list to receive ABA therapy and/or other therapy services, and nearly 25% have already waited more than 6 months – and counting – since initially contacting providers, as compared to the market average of 10%. This highlights the fact that there are not enough providers within the state to meet their needs. Hopebridge expects to alleviate this pressure and get Florida families the personalized care they need through a more convenient process before kids reach school age.
Many of Florida’s parents feel there is limited support for the autism community. Nearly half of families utilizing autism services in Florida feel their children are not receiving the care they need. Approximately 1/3 of these children receive therapy in school rather than a more specialized, intensive environment that caters to their needs. These caregivers desire the ability to receive multiple therapy options in one place, rather than bouncing between multiple providers for their services. Hopebridge’s mission is to simplify life for children and families with our quality of care. We aim to see the smiles on not only kids’ faces, but their parents’ too! Our 360 Care program will bring comprehensive, one-on-one ABA speech, feeding and occupational therapy – including diagnostics, parent training and more – closer to home for many of these families.
If you are a Florida caregiver and believe your child may display signs of autism, we do not want you to wait to get answers or help. Connect with us here to learn more about our customized programs and schedule a diagnostic assessment and ABA evaluation for your child. You can also stay up to date on all our existing and upcoming locations on our centers page as we continue to grow the network within the state.
* All data referenced in this article was collected via a market survey conducted by Hopebridge
See for Yourself
Come visit our centers, talk to us, see our natural classroom-like settings and learning how ABA therapy can get your kiddo on track for school.