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Chesapeake, VA: Autism therapy center opens; 'there is a big need for autism services'

Mar 31, 2023, WTKR TV, Norfolk, VA: 'These kids are going to be members of our society:' Autism treatment center opening in Chesapeake https://www.wtkr.com/news/these-kids-are-going-to-be-members-of-our-society-autism-treatment-center-opening-in-chesapeake?_amp=true

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A new autism treatment center is offering new resources for children with autism living in Hampton Roads. The facility is opening in Chesapeake just ahead of World Autism Day this Sunday, April 2.

"We are opening up the center because there is a big need for autism services in general," said Mark Crevelli, the facility's clinical director. "Center-based services are a unique opportunity to provide more intensive support."

Support that parents like Melanie Nardelli-Allan have been searching for for years.

Nardelli-Allan's son Stryder was on a waitlist for two years before receiving his autism diagnosis, something she says isn't uncommon due to the lack of resources for children with autism in Hampton Roads.

"We lost two years of therapy, two years of helping him, two years of figuring out what is going on," she said. "We were on a waitlist for a waitlist...The largest brain growth for children is from zero to five, and then after that, you lose a lot."

The new autism treatment center is hoping to catch kids before those critical years expire. Operated by Behavior Frontiers, the facility specializes in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and focuses on learning through play….

"These kids are going to be members of our society... How are we going to integrate them and make them feel welcome? And this is just a small step towards that," said Nardelli-Allan…. The new facility can help 28 kids like Stryder while offering an additional childcare option for parents. Nardelli-Allan says finding childcare for children with autism in Hampton Roads is difficult….


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