Hopebridge Autism Therapy Centers is expanding to Arizona.

Hopebridge, one of the largest autism therapy networks in the nation, plans to open approximately 12 locations across the state over the next 12 to 18 months.

In Arizona, one in 71 eight-year-old children were identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in 2014, according to an Arizona Developmental Disabilities Surveillance Program (ADDSP) report.

“Our primary focus and mission is to provide access in communities where there’s a need [for care] … Arizona is a state [with] opportunity because they have that need,” Hopebridge CEO Dennis May said. “We felt [Arizona] was a great fit for us.”

Hopebridge’s new centers will provide hundreds of Arizona children touched by ASD and other developmental delays the chance to receive the “life-changing care they need” including diagnostic assessments and applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy).

Hopebridge’s care is life-changing because it gives those with ASD the chance for early intervention, said May.

More than 90 percent of children identified with ASD in Arizona had development concerns by three-years-old, but only 34 percent received a comprehensive developmental evaluation by the age of three, according to ADDSP.

According to a study in Pediatrics, early intervention programs for very young children with autism can be effective in improving IQ, language ability and social interactions.

“One of the first things you read about children on the spectrum is early intervention really matters,” May said. “That time window is very, very important so our goal is to be able to serve these communities, be able to make a difference [and] be able to provide access to care for the families that need it.”

Hopebridge offers families a multidisciplinary approach called Hopebridge360TM, which places the child and their family at “the center of care” by combining methods and expertise on all disciplines that fit the child’s unique needs.

“Reducing barriers for Arizona’s autism community is a top priority for us at Hopebridge,” said Hopebridge Chief Clinical Officer Kim Strunk in a statement. “It starts with identifying delays and challenges earlier in life and intervening during their crucial developmental stages, then providing families with the tools to help their children continue onto success in school and long-term independence.”

Eventually, the organization will add occupational, speech and feeding therapies that will allow teams to create personalized goals aimed at meeting the needs of each individual child, as well as offering a wide range of benefits for Arizona families living with autism, including:

• Diagnostic and ABA evaluations

• State-of-the-art facilities designed specifically to enhance pediatric therapy for a spectrum of functioning levels

• Socialization with peers to target specific social and pragmatic goals

• Interdisciplinary collaboration between ABA, occupational and speech therapists

• A full-service insurance support team to help families navigate coverage options

• Parent training and education to maximize the effects of therapy outside center walls.

All of these services will be offered under one roof, which will allow patients to be more successful in their communication, social behaviors and adaptive living skills.

“My favorite part at Hopebridge is seeing the difference that we make in a child’s life,” May said. “It’s great to go back to the same center time and time again and be able to see our children develop and progress, whether it’s gaining skills or it’s a child being able to communicate in different ways, it’s such a rewarding part of what I do. Just being able to see the difference we make in a family and for a child’s life.”

The first centers opening in Arizona will be located at:

• Glendale Hopebridge: 5859 West Talavi Boulevard, Suite 180, Glendale. AZ 85306

• North Phoenix Hopebridge: 3602 E. Greenway Road, Suite 102, Phoenix, AZ 85032

• South Tucson Hopebridge: 9302 E. 22nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85710

All centers will offer a variety of settings and equipment that enable therapists to develop customized programs that include natural environment training, personal hygiene, peer interaction and school preparation.

“Hopebridge joins a long list of health care industry leaders that call Arizona home, and we’re thrilled to welcome them to our state,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “These facilities will not only provide employment for hundreds of Arizonans but also critical care to children with autism.”

Hopebridge ultimately plans on creating more than 650 new jobs throughout Arizona.

“We’re very excited to be a part of the community and to be able to make a difference,” May said.

To schedule a diagnostic appointment or private tour of a Hopebridge center, click here.

For a full list of Hopebridge services, click here.


This story was originally published at Chamber Business News.