Howard Intervention Center, Founded by Family Touched by Autism, Moves to New Facility to Accommodate Increased Demand for Services
Sometimes a mom has to take matters into her own hands when the best interests of her child and other children are at stake. Even better when she has her sister by her side. And better still when they have the professional expertise, passion and energy to get the job done right. Such is the case with Cara Wilson, SLPP, DT, M.Ed, M.A. and Ca’Shawn, Morris, BBA, ST, RBT, co-founders of Howard Intervention Center (HIC), a multi-faceted Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy and developmental center for children diagnosed with autism and their families, which opened its doors in 2017.
This week, the organization announced it will relocate to a larger facility at
21141 Governor’s Hwy STE. 301 in Matteson to meet the growing demand for services —something that Cara and Ca’Shawn could never have imagined when they opened their doors three short years ago. Yet, the journey actually began back in 2012 when Cara’s son, Alonzo, was born, and she soon realized he was missing developmental milestones and displaying some of the same tendencies associated with autism.
As a speech therapist and educator for over 20 years, she immediately began advocating for her son and seeking out services to support his development. What she found was a deficit in results-driven and relationship-based care that kept the whole family in mind.
“I have spent my entire career working with children who have various challenges, so I am very familiar with what works and what doesn’t on both the developmental and interpersonal sides. With HIC, we set out to correct those. And let me tell you, there is no greater motivator than the love of vulnerable children, especially your own,” said Cara. “HIC was named for our dad, created for my son, and is today staffed by a team that is not only highly trained and credentialed, but many have an immediate family member or loved one with autism.”
Once HIC was operational, Alonzo began to thrive and overcome obstacles while discovering and building on his unique talents, as did the other students at the Center.
Today, HIC provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to children affected with autism, from the time they are diagnosed through age 21, and their families. ABA is considered by many experts to be the “gold standard” for supporting children with autism and other developmental conditions and has been proven to improve social, communication and learning skills. Each child at HIC is paired with a registered behavior tech (RBT) to ensure individualized approaches to therapy and treatment in a comfortable and calming setting. At HIC, the focus is on language enrichment, comprehension, vocabulary skills, pretend play, fine and gross motor skills – and family.
HIC further distinguishes itself by offering a variety of home services and social skills groups – even opening a second company that provides transportation to school and events by drivers trained to work with kids having special needs. Training for parents is provided in-person and by video conference and a variety of community outreach programs are offered as well as school consultations. The Center recently established a non-profit organization, Howard’s Heroes, through which it offers monthly parent nights out, a parent support group and a parent/child social group.
“HIC has had such a great impact on my son’s learning and development. I have seen so much growth in the two years he has been part of the program, and I believe this is the best place for him,” added Michael S., father of a student.
“Howard has been a godsend to our family and my grandson, who has shown vast improvement in accomplishing new skills. He has grown leaps and bounds since he has been attending Howard over the past 10 months,” said Joyce Novak, grandmother of a student.
HIC is affiliated with the Resource Center for Autism and Developmental Delays, South Suburban Special Recreation Association and Purdue Global University. Its new facility will allow for expanded services to accommodate more students and staff and boasts a virtual playground and the only Fun Factory Sensory Gym in the area. Families interested in ABA therapy are encouraged to contact the organization at (708)794-6509. Currently, there is no waiting list.