Editor's note: Warren's new Comprehensive Autism Medical Assessment and Treatment Center is a first-of-its-kind enterprise, bringing together various specialists in one location to provide services to not only autism spectrum children, but their families as well.
Because of the unusual and multi-faceted nature of the center, we will be featuring a series of articles on the various people and groups offering services through the center. This is the first of the weekly series.
After Paul Abend launched the Autism Think Tank and the Comprehensive Autism Medical Assessment and Treatment Center, the next component he sought for the new center was someone to provide the therapeutic services families with autistic children would need.
And those services needed to extend beyond the children—as the father of an autistic child, Dr. Abend knows first hand how few services were designed to help the whole family.
So he reached out to two professionals he knew: therapist Sheri Marino Haiken and Amit Amit Gaglani, owner of Accelerated Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation. Together, they launched Bright Star Therapy to offer speech, physical and occupational therapy through the center.
As well as provide some "hand holding" to family members.
For example, Gaglani—who serves as business director for Bright Star, uses his undertsanding and expertise in insurance claims to help guide parents through the process whe they become clients. In fact, when parents bring a child in for an initial screening at the center, they are usually told upfront what their coverage will provide.
"They feel like their hands are being held for the first time," Gaglani said.
And when combined with the family services Bright Star offers—which can include preparation of home schedules to complement school plans or counseling for a sibling who may feel lost in the constant shuffle of doctor and therapeutic sessions.
"We only get the children for a couple of hours a week, so the better we can help (the family), everyone will fare better," Marino Haiken said. "When we treat here, this isn't the kind of center where you bring your child and go wait in the lobby."
Services are provided by a stable of therapists with extensive experience working with children with autism spectrum disorders. Marino Haiken boasts more than 20 years herself, and other therapists she has called on for specialized servoces are similarly experienced.
Bright Star began seeing its first clients in December, looking to build with several programs Gaglani and Marino Haiken think will serve their clients well—such as weekend respite programs, so parents can drop off children for a couple of hours.
The kids will participate in a series of therapeutic recreational activities.
"It'll be martial arts, yoga, music and art," Marino Haiken said.
For more information on Bright Star's therapy programs, contact them at the Comprehensive Autism Medical Assessment and Treatment Center, at 266 King George Road, or call 732-667-7778.