New behavioral therapy center open for kids with autism, Down syndrome

Digital Mojo

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A new behavioral therapy provider for children with autism and Down syndrome is open in Pensacola.

Virtus Health offers center-based Applied Behavior Analysis Services for those with behavior challenges and skill deficits. Kerri Duncan, Executive Vice President for Virtus told News 5 said the center, located at 1100 Airport Boulevard, Suite C, opened around the Labor Day holiday.

Duncan said the staff at Virtus looks at a function of a child’s behavior and replaces it with replacement behavior so the child doesn’t have to exhibit unwanted behavior to get their needs met.

Staff also teaches communication skills and daily living skills.

Duncan said children who attend Virtus can use the organization’s services as a replacement to being enrolled in public or private school, or as an after-school supplement for continued learning.

“We look at our facility as a being the foundational framework so that we can teach a child to go back into a classroom setting and learn with other children,” she said.

Most private insurances and Medicaid pay for Virtus services. Virtus also focuses on parent training, so that the skills taught at Virtus can be translated into the home environment and beyond.

“Our goal is to get the child back into a public or private school of a parent’s choice as soon as possible,” Duncan said.

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