New Autism clinic opens in Salem

New Autism clinic opens in Salem (Image 1)
New Autism clinic opens in Salem (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

Cleaning up after a classroom of Pre-K children can be quite a task, but for Lissa Hoprich it's a labor of love. Monday was the first day of class at her new autism center in Salem.

"We love working with kids," Hoprich said. " I come from a family of four developmentally delayed children so it's my passion."

The ABC's of Applied Behavior Analysis is full of play kitchen sets, card games and building blocks. They may look like just toy but Hoprich says they use each one as a learning tool to help students learn to communicate with others.

"The earlier that you can teach functional communication skills then the easier that you can work with the child and the family," Hoprich said.

Although it's only the first day here at the clinic, the program is almost fully enrolled. Behavior analysts throughout our area tell WSLS the demand is growing for these types of facilities.

"I think it's a great thing that there are more programs developing in the area. There is a great need. Every school like ours has a waiting list and its so heart breaking to turn families away," said Samantha Macfarland, a senior program director at the Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement center in Roanoke.

This center alone works with fifty children and they are at capacity much like Hoprichs A-B-C's of ABA.

" I had no idea that this would fill up so quickly," Hoprich said.

But with the growing demand and the passion to make a difference, Hoprich is hoping to one day grow the program so she can help as many children in need as she can.