Nearly a month ago, PMC began offering behavioral treatment to children throughout the region who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Appalachian Valley Autism (AVA) Center is now the only dedicated autism center located within a two-hour drive from Pikeville.
Specializing in early intervention and treatment, the AVA Center offers Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, which has been shown effective in increasing communication skills, improving attention, and decreasing problem behaviors. AVA Center therapists are specifically trained to work with newly diagnosed children as young as two years old.
“Since our soft opening a few weeks ago, we have received calls from parents with questions nearly every single day,” explained AVA Center Program Manager Rachel Reynolds. “Sadly, schools in our region simply don’t have the resources to provide the assistance that children with autism need. Families were having to move away from eastern Kentucky for their child to receive therapy.”
“PMC is dedicated to helping children with autism who have no voice and are unable to help themselves,” said PMC CEO and Vice President of the Board of Directors, Donovan Blackburn. “These precious children will not always have their parents to watch over them. But, through the AVA Center, we can become an advocate on their behalf, helping them to thrive in their own community.”
Since opening the first of July, the AVA Center has quickly advanced from Phase I to III. They now have the ability to care for and provide treatment for 45 children. The ultimate goal for the facility, with the help of state, federal, and private funding agencies, is to achieve Phase IV, which will allow the AVA Center to serve 100 children who would potentially be left behind.