Autism, Asperger's services coming to Viera


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The Florida Autism Center is expanding to Viera in winter 2016.

photo courtesy of the florida autism center

Help is on the way for families in the Viera/Suntree area whose children have autism and Asperger's syndrome. The Florida Autism Center (FAC) is moving into the former Seacoast Bank building at 5500 Murrell Road., Suite 100. 

“We're so excited. Viera has been such a welcoming community, telling us they are so glad we are coming,” FAC marketing director Jenn Elston said. 

FAC provides center-based treatment based on the basic principles of Applied Behavior Analysis, and has a specific focus on early intensive behavioral intervention, verbal behavior (language) training and social skills training. In addition, FAC offers an alternative school program to children on the autism spectrum funded in part through the McKay Scholarship. 

“We are excited and honored to offer our high quality clinical care to the Brevard County autism community and continue to make progress toward expanding our services throughout Florida and the broader Southeastern United States,” FAC founder Chrystin Bullock said. Families are invited to tour one of the growing number of FAC centers in nearby counties so their children may start at the center the day it opens. 

“Our mission is to enable each child in our care to reach his or her personal potential and we look forward to having the opportunity to collaborate with the community and families to advance this commitment.” 

Local families are eagerly anticipating the opening of the center, slated for winter 2016. 

“There is nothing in the Viera, Suntree or Rockledge area,” said Silvia Hierro, president of Supporting our ASD Kids (SOAK), which meets from 10 a.m. to noon the third Wednesday of the month at the Suntree/Viera Library. 

“Even if you drive the 30 minutes or more to the Scott Center [for Autism at the Florida Institute of Technology], there is a waiting list. There are private schools, but their waiting lists are six to eight months long,” said Hierro, whose 15-year-old son has Asperger's and 8-year-old daughter is on the autism spectrum. 

SOAK brings together experts to make presentations at monthly meetings. The next meeting is Nov. 18. A holiday meeting Dec. 21 will be a social event for parents with a cookie exchange in place of a speaker presentation. 

“Some of the best information we get is not just from the experts who speak, but from each other,” Hierro said. “We have formed close friendships, and our children have formed close friendships. There is no one who understands like someone who is in your shoes.”

For more information on FAC, go to flautism.com or call Elston at 866-610-0580. For more information on SOAK, call or email Hierro at 321-626-8742 or soakfamilies@ gmail.com