With Autism Awareness Month in April, the Carrie Brazer Center for Autism has announced its opening in Tavernier. 

The new center will offer services to the community that include behavioral therapy, speech therapy, parent training and full-day school. The center accepts the McKay and Gardiner scholarships for full tuition and accepts most insurance plans to cover the costs of therapy.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects one in 54 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By offering services locally, the center is able to provide access closer to home for many families in the Florida Keys. The goal is to assist the local community in awareness for ASD and support those within the community. 

Many people are not aware of the signs of autism spectrum disorder and how early signs begin to appear. A person with an ASD might not respond to their name by 12 months; not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months; not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll) by 18 months. They also might avoid eye contact and want to be alone; have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings; have delayed speech and language skills; repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia); or give unrelated answers to questions.

They might also get upset by minor changes; have obsessive interests; flap their hands, rock their body or spin in circles; and have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look or feel. 

Intervention and individual support can help those showing signs of ASD and other social and communicative disabilities to reach a higher quality of life and be able to enjoy the time they share with their loved ones. The Carrie Brazer Center for Autism intends to make a sensory friendly environment in the Keys that encourages growth and progression in a fun and safe surrounding.

Creating an environment that is accepting and encouraging starts at home. When the parents and family implement interventions, the child can see consistency with the environment and be more productive. At the Carrie Brazer Center for Autism, weekly parent training is provided on site and via Zoom. The center has been in business in Miami for over 22 years.

The center is located at 92330 Overseas Hwy #102 in Tavernier; the phone is 305-741-7675.