It is not your typical clinic.
When you walk through the doors of Lonestar Solutions Autism Services, the space is warm and inviting with a large, comfortable couch in the waiting area. It is colorful and creative – you get a sense it’s a place where kids come to learn and have fun in the process.
Lonestar Solutions, located at 1112 East Copeland Road, Suite 310 off of Interstate 30 in Arlington, is a clinic that exclusively offers services to children with Autism. And it’s the only one in Texas affiliated with Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism (internationally recognized as a world leader in Autism services).
Kathleen Lively is the program manager. “We went to the Cleveland Clinic for training, we use their curriculum and data system,” says Lively. “They actually do check us about three to four times a year to ensure we are meeting their standards.”
Lonestar Solutions uses Applied Behavior Analysis to teach its learners important skills they need to succeed at every stage of development. These methods are based on using motivation and positive reinforcement to direct the child’s efforts toward adaptive abilities and behaviors.
“Once I do their assessment, I complete a treatment plan and then we incorporate programs based on the child’s skill level and what we want to build on,” says Behavior Analyst Jessica Smith. “We are all one-on-one with a therapist. How the program is worked on may look like them sitting at the table in more of an instructional setting or it may look like play.”
There are currently about 20 children in the training program. “The programs are going to target how to reduce the symptoms of Autism, primarily communication and social skills,” says Smith.
Throughout their day, the children also partake in circle time, arts and crafts, a gross motor skill group and meals. Each of these activities are done with their own therapist.
Lonestar Solutions prides itself on the fact that, unlike other clinics, its employees have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in a Human Services field. It also touts itself as being more personal and accessible. “We do quite a bit of stuff with parents and help with their social interaction, we are fairly transparent, you can get close to us, you can see Jessica just by asking, you don’t need to make an appointment,” says Lively.“ They meet monthly, which I think is unusual to have the [Board Certified Behavior Analyst] available to meet regularly.”
Lively hopes to make Lonestar Solutions a resource to North Texas families, even if their child does not attend. She says her clinic has a library full of resources for parents to borrow, and she often receives calls from people working their way through the system, and she’s happy to help. Lonestar Solutions offers monthly parent groups, “meet and greets” and informational meetings on a variety of topics – all open to the public. The next informational meeting is on June 20. The topic is “Family Emotional Health.”
“I think a huge deal of what Lonestar brings is that openness and acceptance and understanding,” says Smith. “And we are just here for them.”
For more: www.lonestarsolutions.org.