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Supporting children with autism in Bakersfield

"You see a lot of growth and development, and it’s long-lasting.”
Autism Support
Posted at 5:46 AM, Feb 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-07 13:12:01-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The new Autism Spectrum Therapies center in Bakersfield is filled with toys, books and games, all used to teach kids important skills.

“On the autism spectrum, you're going to see a lot of difficulties with communication, difficulties with socialization, adaptive living skills, things of that nature, so here at this center, that’s essentially what we’re aiming to address," said Senior Clinical Director Brandon Whitfield.

Whitfield has been with A.S.T. for nearly fifteen years. He’s seen the impact this type of work can have.

“Being able to effectively communicate and engage in your environment is one of the best things," he said. "You'd hear about them a few years later actually hanging out at parks, going to the movies, so you see a lot of growth and development, and it’s long-lasting.”

Children visit the center every day, working with trained technicians on all sorts of skills.

“We really try to do things that are child-led so it's a lot of play-based therapy. We've kind of [moved] away [from] that structured A.B.A. of yesteryear to [really] focus on having the child kind of lead the way," said Whitfield.

Whitfield said they actively include the parents as well, empowering them to successfully raise their children with autism.

“That’s one of the hugest components," he said. "We want to make sure the family is involved because [we] want to know how to impact their quality of life.”

Now that they’re open, the center hopes to add even more resources like a garden, a rock wall and a summer camp.

”A lot of big plans. We’re so excited to be here, just to be able to open our doors to this community and partner with everyone, and [make] a bigger and brighter future for Bakersfield," said Whitfield.

To learn more about the center, click here.