Life Skills Autism Academy opens in Katy

By R. Hans Miller | News Editor
Posted 3/17/21

Life Skills Autism Academy held a March 9  ribbon-cutting ceremony for the autism services center’s new location at 610 Katy Fort Bend Road, Ste. 270 in Katy. The new facility provides …

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Life Skills Autism Academy opens in Katy

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Life Skills Autism Academy held a March 9  ribbon-cutting ceremony for the autism services center’s new location at 610 Katy Fort Bend Road, Ste. 270 in Katy. The new facility provides applied behavioral analysis therapy to youngsters, ages 2-7, on the autism spectrum in the Katy area.

“We knew that there was a need for ABA therapy services in the area,” said Life Skills Autism Academy program director Nathan Rabens. “… And we knew from some of the other providers in the area that there has been some waitlist, and so we wanted to help serve the community more and open up the center here as our second (Texas) location.”

Dehazard Allen, clinical director for the Katy location, said the company had also gotten data from Katy-area pediatricians that showed a need in the community for autism therapy, which was another draw from a business standpoint for the academy’s parent company, Centria Autism.

However, both Rabens and Allen said the main focus was bringing support to families that are struggling with autism challenges to Katy. The 60-student clinic provides a variety of one-on-one and group therapies designed to help young autistic learners prepare for the future as public school students and adults.

Each autistic child at the center is assigned a therapist that focuses on that patient’s well-being, Allen said. The therapist accompanies the student throughout the day, stepping in even during group activities if the child becomes overwhelmed or needs assistance in coping with different situations.

“(The children) get a lot of exposure to group therapy and stuff like that, but they are remaining one-to-one with a technician, whether the technician is shadowing or working directly with them,” Allen said.

Rabens said the clinic also works with parents to ensure each child’s success. Most students work with a center technician for 35-40 hours per week and parents are kept in the loop with techniques and therapies that their child with autism is responding well to. This allows parents to apply successful techniques at home, so parental commitment is important.

“The parent commitment and involvement is a big part of therapy, and so we want to make sure that the parents are going to commit to that type of therapy,” Allen said.

Each child’s therapy plan is customized, said Rabens. As successful techniques for each child are identified and passed to parents and practiced both at the clinic – which is intentionally set up to resemble a public school setting – and at home, the students become better prepared for their future as they face pre-K and kindergarten classrooms.

Rabens added that, because the therapy that the children receive is considered therapy, it may be covered under health insurance plans carried by the parents for their young learner. Establishing costs and coverage are a part of Life Skills Autism Academy’s enrollment process, he said.

However, Rabens emphasized that the main goal for the academy isn’t profit, but rather ensuring success for the young people that parents entrust the clinic with.

“I used to work specifically in our Michigan markets, and when we heard feedback from families where they said, ‘My child is eight years old and he’s never spoken before, and he just called me mom,’ – … that’s the best,” Rabens said.

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