South Bend, IN: New autism facility to include K-12 private school

Jan 22, 2018, South Bend (IN) Tribune: Facility serving those with autism opens in South Bend A new facility serving children with autism and developmental disabilities is opening near downtown South Bend. Riverbend Youth Center is based at 701 N. Niles Ave., in a three-story, 80,000-square-foot building that formerly housed Madison Center Children’s Hospital. The company plans to offer a K-12 private school, outpatient therapy, residential care and acute care for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. … Riverbend plans to open an outpatient therapy clinic in February, the residential facility by summer, the school in September and the acute care facility by the end of the year. The facility will use sensory rooms, visual boards and applied behavioral analysis (ABA) techniques. Riverbend will serve individuals up to the age of 21 or as their private insurance permits. … The organizers plan to seek state accreditation to open a private, K-12 school this year that would serve up to 100 children with autism or similar disorders and accept state vouchers that would be good toward tuition. Class sizes are expected to be eight to 10 children. Tuition levels have not yet been set.… While there are autism centers and services in this region, there are few residential facilities and often there are waiting lists for autism therapy services, Sargent-Suarez said. … The company is spending about $700,000 to $750,000 on capital improvements in the building, and making a total investment of about $1.5 million, Riverbend Chief Operating Officer Joshua A. Smith said. … Riverbend now has seven employees and expects to have 225 to 275 employees when fully operational, including licensed therapists, teachers, doctors, support staff and others. The school and outpatient clinic will be on the first floor, with residential care on the two upper floors.