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Action for Autism

The Positive Early Learning Experiences Center (PELE) develops, implements and evaluates comprehensive early-intervention systems to address the developmental needs of young children at risk for school failure and those with special needs, including children with autism and severe behavioral disorders.

In the past year, with generous support from Albertsons Action for Autism campaign, PELE therapists provided nearly 3,000 hours of in-home coaching for families of children with autism in the Denver area. The specific focus of this work is with Spanish-speaking families. Numerous studies have shown that children from Spanish-speaking families are not diagnosed in a timely fashion, nor are they generally afforded high-quality services. PELE is deeply committed to changing that status quo. For the typical family, PELE therapists make several two-hour visits per week. Adult family members identify specific daily routines (for example, mealtime or bedtime) that they find most challenging. Therapists coach families to develop new skills that make daily routines timely, fun and educationally meaningful. They also carefully monitor progress and provide immediate feedback to parents.

One parent expressed, “We thought we were just getting help for our son, but everything is different now.”

“The intersection of poverty, English as a second language and having a child with autism is generally ignored by the profession,” said Phil Strain, director of PELE. “We’re proud to be making a difference. We are seeing consistent, often dramatic improvements in children’s behavior and communication. And, thankfully, our families report more normalized home and community activities.”

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