About one of every 88 American children today has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder, according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The rate of children diagnosed with autism — which occurs across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups — has increased dramatically over the past four decades. As a result, treatment centers and educational organizations are springing up nationwide.
But prior to July 2012, the community of Green Bay, Wis., lacked an autism treatment center of its own.
“In the state of Wisconsin, most autism therapy is done in the home. We’re the first center in Green Bay,” says Janice Miles, office manager of Centerpiece. “We built Centerpiece because we felt going into the home makes the children unable to socialize with other children, and they don’t necessarily have access to therapy equipment.”
Along with center director Lesley LaLuzerne and staff therapists Tyler Krueger and Renee FitzGerald, Miles works tirelessly to ensure that Centerpiece can continue to offer clients the opportunity to excel and progress.
“The biggest thing is that we think outside of the box,” Miles says, noting that the center focuses on sensory integration in the treatment process.
“When you’re dealing with autism,” she adds, “there are a lot of insurance companies and a lot of people telling you that you can’t do this and you can’t do that. It is widely accepted that sensory integration improves the outcome for children with autism … [and] that most of these children have some sort of sensory processing disorder. Yet insurance will not pay for any type of sensory therapy.
“So, we at the center have created an environment where we’re going to do the type of therapy that insurance companies want us to. We’re going to do ABA therapy — but we’re going to integrate sensory.”
Centerpiece serves 17 young clients in the Green Bay area. The center plans to relocate to a larger facility this summer, which means the need for new sensory tools, toys, and resources couldn’t be greater. Seeking support, Miles recently appealed to Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong campaign.
“We need sensory integration equipment for the children,” she wrote in her request for a new ball pit, sensory swings, sand and water tables, mats, and fine motor tools to use with kids during therapy sessions. “We believe that they are children first and want them to have the best and most fun equipment we can provide for them.”
Intuit granted Centerpiece’s wish to support its quest to “ensure that every child has the best possible chance to succeed and overcome the limitations of autism.”
Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong campaign is announcing one winner a day through May 24, 2013. Check out the list of current winners, and find out if yours is one of the wishes we’ve granted!