by Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- The Midland non-profit, MARC, is planning to build an autism center. It would be the first of its kind in the Basin.
Angela Free has two sons living with lower-functioning cases of autism. She says the support system in the Basin is still nowhere near where it needs to be.
"Being able to really find clear cut help or answers was always a challenge for me," Free said.
Free is one of dozens of parents backing up MARC's new autism outreach program. For the first time, an autism center is in the works.
MARC Behavior Analyst, Shilah Garrigan, says, "It's going to be exciting to be able to provide services that this area has not seen before."
The non-profit is still scouting out locations for the new center. They're hoping to break ground by the end of 2013. The center would house a daycare and integrating developmental therapies.
"That would be for children with disabilities and without [disabilities] so we can help support peer modeling and social interaction," Garrigan said.
MARC says the Basin is behind the times when it comes to autism.
"Plain and simple, we've been lacking these services," MARC Board-Certified Behavior Analyst, Dana Daniel, said.
"We need to catch up on the services that are being offered in the bigger cities," Garrigan added.
MARC is also hoping to bring in a doctor specializing in the disorder. Right now, the closest ones are in Lubbock. They'll also start doing in-home behavioral therapy.
"Behavioral therapy is the most research-based treatment method for children with autism and nowhere in the Permian Basin is that available for families," Daniel said.
A free information session with be held at the MARC building this Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.