NORMAL, Illinois (WMBD) – A local nonprofit that provides therapy services to children with autism is expanding its services as the need grows in the area.
Marcfirst will expand its pediatric therapy center by 684 square feet, allowing them to double the number of children with autism they can help with behavioral therapy services.
They currently serve approximately 800 children annually and the new space will enable them to serve nearly 1,600 children and families. Christy Kosharek, vice president of pediatrics, said it will enable more areas of behavioral, speech and physical therapy.
“We are very excited about this expansion as it will allow us to expand our social skills groups [by] have some bigger group experiences for kids to participate in and work on social skills,” Kosharek said.
Kosharek said the expansion will allow them to double the number of services offered and bring the total square footage in the lower level of Carle Bromenn Medical Center’s medical building one to more than 8,000 square feet.
“Our community really stands behind us and especially children and families in our community with young children with special needs who need therapy,” Kosharek said.
Marcfirst opened its Pediatric Therapy Center at the Carle Bromenn site over a year ago and has already expanded once within the area.
“We’ve been here for a year, when we moved three months later, we took up space in the hall,” said CEO Brian Wipperman. “In the spring we went back to our friends at Carle and asked them about additional space and some options had become available and we’ve made the decision to extend the whole hall now.”
Rather than opening a second location, Kosharek said this would allow them to keep all the therapists and caregivers together in one space.
“Which is great when we think about helping kids because our therapists work together all the time so speech talk is occupational therapy and occupational therapy talk is ABA program.” This partnership will allow us to better serve families,” Kosharek said.
Carle-Bromenn president Colleen Kannaday said Carle appreciates working with Marcfirst.
“The Marcfirst team provides invaluable pediatric services to our community and we are excited about their continued growth,” said Kannaday.
Marcfirst offers occupational, physical, speech, and other therapies to children from birth to age 18, as well as child and parent support groups.