The Chattanooga Autism Center is showing off the expansion of its Bridges Behavior Therapy Clinic on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 507 W 26th Street. The community is invited to tour and explore its brand new facility that was built, after grants and donations from individuals, businesses and foundations. Their newest space is a state-of-the-art clinic built within a safe, sensory-friendly and inclusive environment. Its 5,000 square feet contain seven therapy rooms, two classrooms, a calm room, parent consultation room, training and observation room, playground and a large activity room with adaptive climbing equipment, adaptive trampoline and other specialized equipment.
Officials said, "The new Bridges Clinic will allow the CAC to double their specialized behavior therapy hours for children up to age eight, compared to what they could do in our older, smaller clinic space on 1400 McCallie Ave.
Our expert behavior therapists work with young children who need much more support, and are often at risk of hurting themselves or others, running away or experiencing other struggles. During therapy, the young clients are improving their communication skills and self-advocacy while practicing emerging skills in an inclusive preschool-style environment."
“The large space allows the children more freedom and the chance to be much more active. It’s opened up so many more ways to play and ways the kids can engage with their therapists and with other children” said Anna Straussberger, Bridges Clinic director. "Parents are also learning more about their children’s needs as they become more adept at expressing themselves. This therapeutic approach, with the classrooms and pre-school-type setting, is preparing them for kindergarten and beyond."
The CAC’s original Outpatient Clinic remains at its main location, 1400 McCallie Ave., where they still provide counseling and other mental health services for autistic individuals of all ages. The CAC’s outpatient clinic opened in 2012 and grew over the years, adding additional part time therapists and has served over 1,000 patients. When they realized the need to expand their behavior therapy clinic, the CAC began a capital campaign to cover the costs for a larger new facility.
“We’re over halfway to our goal of $350,000. We’re excited we’re able to do this project in phases and we’re working hard to complete the campaign.” said Dave Buck, executive director of the CAC.
For more information about the Open House and the programs at the CAC, call 423-531-6961 opt. 0, or or visit their website at www.chattanoogaautismcenter.org.