Your neurodiverse child is beautiful, and YOU are the EXPERT in your child! Therapies offered at ACN empower families by helping to nurture understanding and connection, building upon the existing strengths you ALL bring to the table. From our first meeting with your family, our focus is on identifying and amplifying strengths and supporting you and your child in building the strongest connection and communication possible. We help you understand your child’s unique profile, and we serve as your partners in navigating a new diagnosis and a new way of relating to each other and the world around you.
Feeding Empowerment Program
ACN’s Feeding Empowerment Program uses an occupational therapy framework and modalities to assess and address pediatric feeding difficulties that impact both child and family. We begin with a comprehensive assessment based on the diagnostic criteria for Pediatric Feeding Disorder (PFD) which is impaired oral intake that is not age-appropriate and is associated with compromised medical or nutritional outcomes, delayed feeding skill acquisition and/or causes distress to the child and/or family. Then, an individualized treatment plan is developed, specific to each child and family. The program utilizes Responsive Feeding Therapy (RFT) in conjunction with parent coaching inclusive of ongoing caregiver education and support to facilitate co-regulation and the child’s discovery of internal cues, curiosity, and motivation while building skills and confidence for both caregiver and child. The parent-child relationship is prioritized while still respecting and supporting the child’s autonomy. The Feeding Empowerment Program is funded by generous grants from St. Luke’s Lutheran Health Ministries and Valero Benefits for Children. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Pediatric Autism Communication Therapy (PACT)
Pediatric Autism Communication Therapy (PACT) is a well-validated intervention supporting connection, celebrating difference, and enhancing communication. It has demonstrated effectiveness and long-term evidence of significantly enhanced child social communication outcomes and can radically improve quality of life for autistic children in relationship with their parents. In a 12 to 18-session staged intervention, the therapist uses specific video feedback techniques to help parents recognize, respond to, and enhance their child’s social communication. PACT is delivered via telehealth in the child’s natural home environment, which is one of the most effective ways of ensuring enduring development and generalization in social communication skills. Within each 60–90-minute session, the therapist reviews short video clips of the adult and child interacting or playing together. This video is jointly reviewed with the adult, using selected moments to identify and discuss the best individual communication strategies for the child. Between sessions, parents are asked to practice their PACT strategies with the child for around 30 minutes a day. Other interventions can be continued in parallel. PACT is the only intervention showing robust evidence of sustained enhanced child social communication skills, communication initiation, language, and engagement six years after early intervention, evidence which informs a new Autism Care Pathway. PACT is proven to improve child communication from first identification through a care pathway, to post-diagnostic intervention and school support, and is suitable for autistic children up to 11 years of age. The efficiency of PACT is in working with familiar adults in the child’s daily life to support the alternative ways autistic children learn, building stronger social communication skills, and simultaneously helping parents feel empowered with increased self-efficacy, well-being, and family resilience. PACT draws on individual positive attributes, strengthening relationships in building the basis for better understanding and accommodating of individual differences. Autism Community Network houses the largest concentration of PACT Certified trainers in the United States, and we are delighted to bring such an innovative, effective, and neurodiversity-affirming intervention to our families. PACT is made possible by generous funding from Betty Stieren Kelso, Autism Speaks, Texas Pediatric Society, and St. Luke's Lutheran Healthcare Ministries. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Making "Sense" of Autism Program
Sensory Processing is something that all humans do as a normal function of our brains and nervous systems. It is the way we take in sights, sounds, tastes, smells, touch, body position, and the status of our internal bodily organs through our senses. Typical sensory processing happens without our even noticing, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It supports a calm, organized, regulated state of being for the individual. Sometimes, it warns us of stimuli that are potentially harmful and other times, it alerts us when we are feeling particularly sluggish or too tired to function. It is a normal function of a typically developing brain and nervous system. Sensory Processing also underlies many aspects of development in all areas: communication, motor skills, cognition, and social-emotional skills. Confidence, coordination, empathy, mindfulness, and our very physical health are all tied to a finely tuned, well-functioning sensory processing system. In the 1960’s an Occupational Therapist and researcher, A. Jean Ayres, PhD., developed a theory outlining what she termed Sensory Integration Dysfunction (now known as Sensory Processing Disorder). This is when sensory signals from one’s own body and/or from the environment are not processed in an orderly manner. Dr. Ayres likened this phenomenon to a “traffic jam” in the brain and nervous system. The signals still get through, but they cause a person’s brain to react too much, not enough, or in such a way that the person seeks extra stimulation in order to register the presence of sensory input. This is evident in a person’s behavior. For example, a person who reacts too much to sensory input may cover their ears with typical environmental sounds, react like the simplest light touch is painful, or gag on certain textures of food. Another person who does not react enough to sensory stimuli may ignore a sound the first few times it is made, be able to tolerate copious amounts of pain before they perceive that something is hurting them, or be able to spin in place much more than the average person without becoming dizzy. Lastly, a sensory seeker may be in constant motion, crashing their bodies against surfaces and other people, putting lots of inedible things in their mouths, smelling non-food items, staring into bright lights, enjoying making loud noises with their own voices without any intent to communicate. Research has shown that approximately 1 in 4 Kindergarten students may have Sensory Processing Disorder, and about 95% of autistic individuals have difficulty properly registering and using sensory input and many autistic adults report that sensory processing differences are an ongoing significant stressor in their lives. This is why Autism Community Network has developed the Making “Sense” of Autism Program. Our program is different from traditional pediatric occupational therapy in that it typically runs for 12-18 weeks before the individual is discharged to another program that offers traditional occupational therapy focusing on play, fine motor, and self-care goals. Good sensory therapy and a parent who better understands their child’s nervous system (as well as their own !) can lead to a better modulated, self-regulated person who is then able to focus and attend to more traditional methods of teaching skills. In addition, the Making “Sense” of Autism Program focuses on using a child-led, parent-mediated approach, coaching caregivers in the basics of sensory processing and their child’s individual sensory differences. Strategies to improve the child’s brain and nervous system responses to sensory stimuli are taught directly to the caregiver during these sessions. Practice at home during naturally occurring daily routine activities is strongly encouraged. Sessions can be conducted in person or via teletherapy using reflective video feedback of the child and caregiver engaging in sensory-rich activities. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
DIRFloortime® is a play and relationship-building therapy for autistic and neurodivergent children. It is a comprehensive foundational model that utilizes affect-based interactions and experiences tailored to individual needs to promote global child development. The DIR® model, developed by Drs. Stanley Greenspan and Serena Wieder, identifies relationships as the pivotal force that nurtures and optimizes development. Further, it was the first to propose a relationship-based model of comprehensive intervention for autism spectrum and sensory processing disorders focusing on relating and communicating. The latest research shows many benefits to DIRFloortime® therapy. At ACN, DIRFloortime® therapy is offered by an expert-level certified clinician working in tandem with parents and other primary caregivers. The DIRFloortime® program consists of 12-18 weeks of weekly or biweekly interventions, one hour in length, that can be completed in-person or via telehealth. Goals for the child and caregiver will be collaboratively established following an in-depth assessment. Families can expect to learn the following: •How to take an active role in helping their children relate and communicate with others •How to support the development of sensory integration and social-emotional connectedness within the brain •To identify the unique challenges and strengths of their children as it relates to their abilities to process sensory information, stay regulated and attentive more of the time and to learn from the social world around them •How to fortify their relationships with their children and facilitate their childrens’ intention and engagement to build the foundation for maximal social, emotional, sensory, motor, language and cognitive development. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Cost of Therapies
If a therapy appointment is not cancelled at least 24 hours in advance you may be charged a fifty dollar ($50) fee; this will not be covered by your insurance company.
We understand that delays can happen however we must try to keep the other patients and doctors on time. If a patient is 15 minutes past their scheduled time we will have to reschedule the appointment.
We accept many forms of medical insurance, including Medicaid. Contact Vanessa Amaya at: