With 1-to-1 therapist-child ratio, Autism in Motion clinic opens

Children and youth diagnosed with autism now have a new therapy center specifically dedicated to their successful treatment.

Autism in Motion opened a new state-of-the-art clinic Monday, July 26, at 11121 Kingston Pike, Suite F, where it will host a superhero-themed grand opening from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., this Saturday, Aug. 21.

Ice cream, face painting and meeting “real” superheroes will be on the agenda, along with tours of the spacious and bright center.

AIM works with children and teenagers ages 18 months to 18 years who already have been diagnosed with autism using child-centered Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, which is individualized for every client.

“We can offer that because our therapist-child ratio is one-to-one,” said program director Tonya Osborne-Simpson, who noted the Arkansas-based clinic is the first one located in East Tennessee. “We try to build treatment plans around a child’s strengths.

“We also meet the child where they are,” she added. “We let them tell us, however they can, what they need to navigate life and be as independent as possible.”

Once assessed, clients typically will receive anywhere from 10 to 30 hours a week of therapy in the clinic, which according to an AIM press release has a full-sized gross motor room for active indoor play, a space for natural environmental teaching, a teen-life skills station, two observation rooms for families and more than 1,000 feet of outdoor play space.

“Some of our rooms for our younger clients are set up like kindergarten classrooms, so when they go to school it is an easy transition for them,” Osborne-Simpson said.

AIM also has included two “sensory rooms,” which are crucial, as one key component of autism concerns difficulties processing sensory stimuli.

If a child is in school, AIM also works in tandem with his/her Individualized Educational Plans, to ensure consistency across all of the child’s environments.

Farragut was chosen for the new clinic site “after our parent company conducted community-based assessments and realized there was a huge need, specifically in this area,” Osborne-Simpson said.

“More and more kids are being diagnosed with autism every day.”

This is something she knows from personal experience. While Osborne-Simpson has “dedicated my career to working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” she was able to recognize some of the early signs of autism tendencies in her own daughter, Brilynn, now 4.

“She had hit all the milestones but didn’t have much verbal language, had a lack of eye contact and really wasn’t responsive to her name,” she said, adding Brilynn was officially diagnosed last August.

“We live in Knox County and experienced first-hand how under-resourced we are when it comes to helping not only those who have been diagnosed, but their families, too.”

While Osborne-Simpson, her husband, Brian, and their daughter have been able to find the help they need (the couple also has three older children between them), she wants to make sure other parents can do the same.

“When your child is diagnosed, and they have difficulty learning or socializing, it can be very saddening and frustrating,” she said. “But we are able to show both children and parents that every mind is different, and there is hope and help available.

“It is a privilege and an honor to be part of that learning process, not only for my child but for other children as well.”

For information about the Farragut clinic, call 865-223-5479. Those planning to attend the open house may RSVP to Kristy Mueller at kmueller@aimclinics.com