Jessica Irish is helping to create brighter futures for children diagnosed with autism. As the clinical director of Creating Brighter Futures, a family-based, private autism-treatment center in Ann Arbor, her goal is to provide comprehensive, individualized care for children ages two through eight using Applied Behavior Therapy (ABT).
“I have a desire to help kids and families. They have a tough road ahead of them with a lot of extra challenges that most people don’t have to deal with. Any help that I can provide is really what makes my day,” she said.
The facility, a small and intimate setting, is fitting for the treatment of a disorder affecting social skills.
“We want parents to know that we’re going to care for their kids as if they were our own. Every child that walks through our doors receives an assessment and a program is created for them,” Irish said. “There are no cookie-cutter programs here. Everything is individualized for each client.”
After helping kids with autism for six years, Irish had a family member diagnosed this past year with autism. She was able to navigate her family through the evaluation process and find treatment, while helping her family understand the disorder.
Irish urges parents to make an appointment for an autism evaluation if a child demonstrates behaviors that are consistently out of the ordinary such as no words by 16 months, no meaningful two-word phrases by two years old, or no back-and-forth gestures. Early intervention provides the greatest possibility for optimal success.
“It is hard for parents to come to grips with the realization that there might be something different with their child,” Irish said. “Also, parents see their kids everyday, so the little changes that other people pick up on may not be recognized by parents as an issue because it’s their normal behavior.”
Creating Brighter Futures, 3125 Professional Dr., Ann Arbor. 734-926-0740. creatingbrighterfutures.com.