As part of its Autism Acceptance Month efforts, WHO 13 News — Des Moines’s local NBC station — sat down with Brad Zelinger, our Founder and CEO here at Stride Autism Centers. Not only did they discuss the new Stride location opening up in Des Moines, but Zelinger and Anchor, Erin Kiernan, also explored effective treatment for kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Learning more about ABA
At the top of the interview, they discussed Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy, which Zelinger described as the “Gold Standard” in treatment for individuals with autism. He explained that at Stride, we use ABA to customize a treatment plan to help young children overcome their unique challenges.
Kiernan shared that her own son attends an ABA program. Her primary takeaway, she said, was that she often observes her son and other children playing as part of the program.
“The most effective therapy is when it’s fun,” Zelinger explained. He said that Stride Autism Centers specialize in supporting children ages 2–6. “They’re really young and they should be playing and having a good time, and there’s a lot of research supporting that. The more fun kids are having, the more engaged they are in those skill-building exercises,” he said.
How Stride gots its start
During the interview, Zelinger also shared how the founding of Stride was born of his experiences with his older sister, Marissa, who has Rett syndrome, a severe autism-related disorder. “Knowing that there was a type of therapy that could make a huge difference and change the arc of someone’s life, and not only for them but for their whole family, I decided to leave my old career in the business world to build something that would make an impact.”
The result is Stride Autism Centers. We currently operate sixteen centers throughout Iowa, Illinois, and Nebraska, with new locations in the works. One of them, in particular, will be opening right in the heart of Des Moines. This will be our fourth Stride location in the greater Des Moines area.
“I’m really motivated to bring this type of care to communities in need,” Zelinger said as the interview wrapped up.
If you’re the parent of a young child diagnosed with autism — or you think your child might be living with ASD — don’t hesitate to contact the Stride team. To get started, fill out our brief contact form.