Mission Autism Clinics

This photo, provided by Mission Autism Clinics, shows their location in Sugarloaf, Pa., which gives an idea of how the Frederick location will look.

Mission Autism Clinics, a Pennsylvania-based therapy program for young children with autism spectrum disorder, will be holding grand openings this week for both its second and third Maryland locations in Frederick and Gaithersburg.

The openings come just months after the launch of the first Maryland location in Silver Spring, which came in late August, according to a news release. Mission Autism Clinics’ Frederick location, at 5310 Spectrum Drive, is holding its grand opening this Friday, Dec. 3.

Paul DeAngelo Jr., CEO of Mission Autism Clinics, said Mission uses a type of therapy called “applied behavior analysis,” or ABA. Mission Autism Clinics’ website explains ABA as an “evidence-based” system for breaking down complex social structures — which children with autism spectrum disorder may struggle with — into smaller, more manageable ideas.

DeAngelo said Mission Autism Clinics focuses on children between 2 and 6.

“We work on getting the kids ready for a kindergarten setting,” he said. “We work on a number of things, like social skills and communication skills.”

The Frederick and Gaithersburg locations will both employ 40 registered behavioral therapists once they reach full capacity, but DeAngelo said this will take about a year of constant recruitment to reach. Currently, DeAngelo said, there are about eight therapists between the two locations.

The CEO noted the large number of therapists is important, as it helps ensure each therapist has a small caseload, allowing for more direct contact between the child and the therapist.

The clinics will offer both a daytime program and an after-school program, with the interior of the space closely resembling the school environments the children will already be getting used to. DeAngelo said this is done to get them more acclimated to the environment.

DeAngelo encouraged parents who are interested to come to the Frederick location’s open house Friday. The clinic will be hosting tours of the facility between 3:30 and 6 p.m.

The Gaithersburg location will hold its grand opening and open house the next day, Dec. 4., at 9250 Gaither Road from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Nonverbal and difficult behaviors are our specialty,” DeAngelo said.

Follow Patrick Kernan on Twitter: @PatKernan

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