Biz Buzz Monday: Autism clinic opens in Dubuque with focus on early intervention

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-state area. In addition to this development from Dubuque we will share other news in Tuesday’s edition.

A new clinic focused on early intervention strategies for autistic children and their families has opened in Dubuque.

Caravel Autism Health recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new location at 2055 Holliday Drive. In addition to the Dubuque location, Caravel also has clinics in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Washington and Idaho.

The Dubuque clinic is focused on providing early intervention and diagnosis services for young children ages 2 through 5, said clinic director and behavior analyst Hannah Bechen, with a select number of spots for older kids.

“We really are trying to focus on early intervention because that’s where the research shows that the earlier kids get these services, the better outcomes they have,” Bechen said.

The clinic offers evaluation, diagnosis and one-on-one treatment services for autistic children with an emphasis on applied behavior analysis, a method of therapy focused on bolstering life skills.

For young kids, Bechen said that often means helping bolster social skills and preparing them for the transition into a formal school environment. It also can include working with the children to lessen problematic behaviors, such as aggression or self injury.

Parents or guardians are engaged throughout the therapeutic process, Bechen added, to ensure they can help guide a child toward positive behaviors in a non-clinical environment.

“Anything they learn with us, we want to make sure they can do it with the parents, too, and that the parents feel confident in facilitating those skills,” she explained.

Part of the Dubuque clinic’s goal is to help alleviate long wait times that currently face families with kids who have autism spectrum disorder or are suspected to.

Bechen said those wait times currently can stretch months for Dubuque area families — if not up to a year — which significantly delays treatment timelines.

The Caravel clinic is meant to alleviate that stress by increasing the number of local providers and appointments for local services. When fully staffed, Bechen said the Dubuque location can host roughly 24 clients at one time.

“We’re really excited to provide a service that has not had as many opportunities available in the past for children in the area,” Bechen said. “… We never want to change our clients or what makes them (who they are), but we do want to help give them the skills they need to succeed.”

More information about the Caravel Autism Services Dubuque clinic can be found online at Parents can also reach the new patient intake line at 563-293-5683.