Jul 11, 2019 | By: Rachel Johnson

“Autism Matters” Opens In Baxter

A new clinic that offers services to Minnesota children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder has recently opened its doors in Baxter. Autism Matters held an open house and ribbon cutting Thursday to welcome Brainerd area community members.

In 2008, a speech language pathologist had a vision of incorporating speech language therapy, occupational therapy, and behavioral therapy all in one place.

“We started with one student or client in Minnetonka and since then we’ve expanded. We opened up our second location in Rogers and now our third location here in Brainerd,” said Christine Hendrickson, Autism Matters quality assurance trainer.

In June, their Baxter location opened, and on Thursday they held an open house to welcome potential future clients and staff.

“We provide one-on-one therapy to help with behavior modification, to help increase their communication, their social interactions with others,” explained Alexis Leach, Autism Matters ABA program manager.

Autism Matters provides a full range of services to Minnesota children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, such as autism assessment services, early intensive child behavioral intervention, speech-language therapy and more.

“Here at the Baxter location, we are focusing on ABA, applied behavior analysis, and family skills training. But we will also be offering at this clinic once we staff, speech therapy, feeding therapy, occupational therapy, and psychotherapy,” added Leach.

“Fine motor skills, gross-motor, labeling items, listener skills, a lot of safety skills,” explained Alyssa Deutschmann, Autism Matters Baxter program manager.

The Baxter location is all-inclusive and will offer a variety of rooms, each specifically designed for their various services.

“We have different rooms set up. One is – we call it the play room. While they’re spending time in that room we’re teaching them to ask for different things, but also play appropriately with the toys. We also have a gym. We also have an intensive table teaching room where the kids will go and have a table that’s assigned to them with really specific teaching materials that they use to learn a variety of skills,” Hendrickson explained.

The main goal of Autism Matters is to improve the lives of children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the lives of their loved ones.

“A lot of the kids that do start with us come in non-verbal, have no form of communication, and by the time they leave our program they’re talking,” said Hendrickson. “A lot of the time they’re talking in sentences.”

“We don’t want to change the child. I think the children are great as they are. But we want to help them get some of these skills that can help them live a more fulfilling life,” said Deutschmann.

Autism Matters is located off of Edgewood Road behind CTC in Baxter and is open to any child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or a related disorder.

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