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Beacon of Hope opens local behavioral therapy clinic

Beacon of Hope ABA is an organization providing behavior therapy for children diagnosed with autism.

Andalusia opened its Beacon of Hope clinic on July 7. There are also two clinics in Ozark and one in Opp with plans laid out to launch an Enterprise location in August. “We are very excited to be at this location as it will allow for us to work with clients in the community and teach them independence in the city of Andalusia,” owner/operator Shelby DiPilla said.

Beacon of Hope strives to provide behavior analytics to children diagnosed with autism.

Applied Behavior Analysis therapy is an evidence-based treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. It consists of working one-on-one with clients in communication, social skills, independence skills, and behaviors that are barriers to learning.

There are three steps if parents choose to schedule an ABA assessment for their children. “Children get referrals from their pediatrician for ABA therapy, and it can be faxed to our office. Following a referral, we then reach out and set up an appointment for a behavior assessment. Children must have an autism diagnosis to get services through insurance. We also work with schools and private pay families on behaviors of concern or conducting training.” Once children have begun receiving ABA services, parents are invited to attend training sessions at their discretion.

DiPilla said ABA therapy focuses on teaching children behaviors that ensure they are able to be independent. Children learn how to interact with their peers, participate in craft projects, do gross motor activities, play board games, and learn daily living skills. Behavior technicians also take children on field trips to practice interaction in different settings with the community.

She explained that Beacon of Hope specializes in reducing problem behaviors and teaching communication and social skills. She said, “ABA is an individualized approach, and children are all assigned to board-certified behavior analysis. There is typically a team of registered behavior technicians to work with during therapy.” The program also works with parents on a regular basis and provides parent training from our clients. “Prior to Beacon of Hope opening in Andalusia, a majority of the families we serve were driving to Enterprise or Dothan multiple times a week for therapy,” she said.

DiPilla, who is also a board-certified behavior analyst, earned her master’s degree from the University of West Florida in 2014. “I fell in love working with children with autism while completing an internship in Pensacola. All children with autism are very different and have dynamic personalities. I enjoy helping the clients we serve to be able to express who they are and build behaviors that interfere with daily living.”

The Andalusia clinic is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and is located at 109 O’Neal Court. “For those who do not come to our location, we also provide support in homes and the community.” The Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon-cutting Monday, August 9 at 11 a.m. for the grand opening.

For more information contact Beacon of Hope at 334-477-4686. Referrals for children may be faxed to 334-443-0294. The program can also be reached by e-mail at beaconofhopeaba@gmail.com. “For those who do not come to the Andalusia location, we also provide support in homes and the community. We are excited about having this opportunity to help our local parents and their children out,” DiPilla said.