New center for autism to meet growing demand in West Michigan

Posted at 7:30 AM, Nov 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-15 07:30:47-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Hope Network, one of Michigan's largest non-profit organizations providing healthcare and life services to more than 20,000 people in 240 communities across the state, is meeting the growing need for autism services with the opening of a new Center for Autism location in northwest Grand Rapids.

A ribbon cutting took place Thursday at the facility, which is located inside Hope Network’s Family Life Center at 1256 Walker Ave. NW in Grand Rapids.

The second floor of the Family Life Center has been completely renovated to allow Hope Network to provide the same high-quality services that are offered at its Center For Autism locations in Kentwood and Holland.

"This new Center for Autism represents our vision for growth across the state of Michigan,” said Phil Weaver, President & CEO of Hope Network. “We are meeting the needs of the community by providing early intervention to more children with autism, helping them achieve greater clinical outcomes, and ultimately a brighter future."

Hope Network prides itself in offering multi-disciplinary treatment in one place.  While diagnostic services will primarily be offered at the Kentwood location, the Center for Autism in northwest Grand Rapids will provide speech and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, providing convenience and efficiency for both children and parents.  Everything from the building’s entrances to the meeting spaces has been set up to provide staff and parents the best possible experience. The Family Life Center Space, which is inside a former convent, also houses Hope Network’s adult memory care program, Side by Side.

“What makes us unique is that we provide our services in naturalistic environments,” said Michelle O'Connor-Teklinski, Hope Network Executive Director of Statewide Autism Services. “At our new location in northwest Grand Rapids we are able to have joint activities with individuals in our Side by Side program, benefiting both learners and older adults.”

Hope Network has been at the forefront of autism treatment since opening Michigan’s first all-inclusive treatment center in Kentwood in 2011.  Hope Network added its Holland treatment location in 2017 to serve additional families in need along the lakeshore. All Center for Autism locations monitor progress closely to ensure the best possible outcomes for all clients.

Hope Network expects to be able to treat around 25 patients at the new location and will employ more than 30 staff, many of whom have experience at Hope Network’s other Center For Autism locations.