Scott Center Boasts Autism Research, Treatment
By Alex Coultrup, Florida Tech // January 20, 2015
fixture in lives of many Central Florida families
ABOVE VIDEO: The Scott Center for Autism Treatment at the Florida Institute of Technology was dedicated on October 27, 2009. Ed and Cheryl Scott spoke at this event where they expressed appreciation for the support of Florida Tech and Congressman Dave Weldon.
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – At the Scott Center for Autism Treatment, ongoing research and outreach to the community continue to set it apart as a unique and important fixture in the lives of many Central Florida families.
The Scott Center’s location on Florida Tech’s campus allows it to serve the community and perform more dynamically than if it were a stand-alone business, said Colleen Middlebrooks, community relations director.
The research at the Scott Center is important for creating a more informed and well-equipped community, “By publishing them, we allow others in the community and the world to learn about ASD and replicate our treatment in other places.
“This site is a practicum site for grad students,” said Middlebrooks.
“It’s a training ground for future therapists as well as parents. Training is one of the Scott Center’s top goals.
“We study behaviors related to the ASD and the best practices related to treating these behaviors,” Middlebrooks said.
The Scott Center’s mission statement stresses Service, Research and Training.
“The clinic is dedicated to applying research and high quality treatment and training to improve the function and quality of life of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related disabilities in Central Florida,” according to the center’s website.
One of the main issues that the Scott Center works with researching and treating is the concept of Applied Behavioral Analysis in the treatment of Severe Behavior Problems.
While individuals with forms of autism may suffer from Severe Behavior Problems, the term can apply to anyone, even those not on the ASD spectrum.
ABOVE VIDEO: To help parents with the challenges of an autistic child, Ed and Cheryl Scott funded the creation of the Scott Center for Autism Treatment, a state-of-the-art research and treatment facility located on the campus of Florida Institute of Technology.
The goal of the severe behavior clinic is “using treatments to slow down and ultimately stop the severe behavior,” said Middlebrooks.
Autism is treatable with the most success when diagnosed at an early age. Most children at the Scott Center begin treatment at as young as 2 or 3 years.
However, treatment is very time-consuming per-child.
“Kids who come for early intervention might even come for three hours a day, five days a week for up to three years,” Middlebrooks said.
Because of the one-to-one treatment that children receive, the waiting list for the Scott Center is lengthy.
With children at the Center for such a duration of time, it’s being optimistic and persevering within the program that makes all the difference, said Evelyn Sprinkle, a specialist who works directly with children in the program.
“You learn to appreciate small gains,” she said.
“They will add up over time, and it’s one of the most reinforcing things ever. It’s so wonderful to see progress that’s made.”
Sprinkle believes that the Scott Center truly makes a difference in the local area.
“The work that is done here and the contribution for the community and the individuals is just off the charts awesome,” she said.
“We really benefit from the high volume of students that work at the Scott Center,” Middlebrooks said.
“There’s a limited number of graduate students on staff, but we get lots of enthusiastic new students to interact with the kids.”
Even though the children in treatment bond with the individuals who work with them, the process of students graduating and being replaced by others also helps the children learn to adjust to interacting with new people.
“There’s such a great need for services like what we have,” said Middlebrooks.
She explained that it is important to realize autism’s impact in every social sphere, and how the Scott Center works to educate not only parents and immediate family, but also the public about how to interact with individuals on the ASD spectrum.
The Scott Center is the only autism research and treatment center of its kind in the local area, which means it serves Brevard county and now most of Central Florida in the Indian River County, thanks to a smaller, satellite office which opened there.
The Scott Center works to be involved with the community in many ways, including 5k runs hosted by the Scott Center Running Club and an annual “Evening of Hope,” which features a fundraiser at FIT’s Panther Aquatic Center.
The Scott Center is in the process of expanding, so more of their resources are available online.
This will enhance the accessibility of their research to the public.
The Scott Center’s second floor also has a psychologist’s office, which offers treatment of all kinds, from marriage counseling to helping siblings cope with their brother or sister’s autism diagnosis.
Anyone in the community can access these services.
The Scott Center for Autism Treatment is located at 150 W. University Boulevard in Melbourne, Florida. For more information call 321-674-8106 or log on thescottcenter.org