Unlocking the Spectrum prepares for expansion


By Heather Lusk

April is internationally known as Autism Awareness and Acceptance month, and a local facility supporting children with autism is busy this month offering its range of services as it prepares to expand into another building.

Unlocking The Spectrum will add a new facility on Guion Road to its several existing centers in Indiana. The facility, scheduled to open in July, will provide even more functional resources for the 15 to 20 children it will serve.



“We were ready for something that was going to offer more individualized services for our clients,” said Ilana Hernandez, founder and director of Unlocking the Spectrum.

Hernandez said that all of the clients initially receive in-home services provided by devoted therapists.

“It goes back to the family piece,” Hernandez said. “We won’t be with our clients forever, but their families will be.”

Ultimately the goal is to integrate children with autism into a classroom setting. The Unlocking the Spectrum facilities serve as a transition space with a large playroom, indoor playground and mock classroom. The center helps children as young as 18 months.

“I think what makes us really unique is we focus on the family as well as the child,” Hernandez said. “If it’s not something that can be carried over into the home setting it’s not going to be effective for that child.”

During Autism Awareness and Acceptance month, Hernandez suggests reading about autism through books and articles, including many that are geared toward children.

“Spend time with people with autism,” she said, encouraging everyone to embrace our differences.

Free screenings for children who haven’t received an autism diagnosis are offered by contacting Unlocking the Spectrum. There are many events throughout Indianapolis and the surrounding area in support of Autism Awareness and Acceptance month including: the Stand Up for Autism comedy show in Bloomington, Hidden Talents art expo at IUPUI and sensory friendly movies at several area theaters.

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