Carrie Brazer leased a 2000" foot
office space in the heart of Coral Gables, Florida and
began an after school center and Saturday school program with 15
children diagnosed with Autism. Due to the high demand for therapy
within an all inclusive facility, by the "Open House"
in April 2000, enrollment nearly tripled. Her center now serves
over 55 children weekly after school, on Saturdays, every school
holiday and through out 12 weeks of the Summer.
Carrie Brazer's program consists of highly structured, consistent,
cognitive based instruction delivered with a one teacher to one
student ratio. She also combines instruction with generalization
training through wonderfully planned field-trips within the community;
to enable each child to become familiar with their surroundings.
She applies her extensive training in applied behavior analysis,
and adopts "discrete trial" training from its founder
Dr. Ivar Lovaas. She continues researching on the biological causes
of autism and provides information to parents on nutrition, diet
and alternative approaches to healing autism.
The center is based on a "team-family-centered" approach
to healing which combines the many disciplines necessary to healing
the child and family. The team consists now of 35 special education
teachers and training, 2 music therapists, a full-time speech therapist,
massage therapist, chiropractor, nutritionist, social worker and
pediatrician at an alternative location.
Additionally, the center hosts bi-monthly parent support group
meetings as well as an array of guest speakers and training courses
for the family.
In September of 2000, The Carrie Brazer Center for Autism &
Alternative Approaches, Inc., met the requirements to become a full-time
private school and was awarded scholarships from the State of Florida
estimated at over $160,000. Eleven children diagnosed with autism
could now attend her newly formed school! Currently the State has
made available funds for 3% of the Special Education population
in Florida to acquire scholarships. Unfortunately The Carrie Brazer
Center could not accommodate more than these 11 students due to
space restrictions. Additionally, 3 other students are privately
enrolled for full-day school. Currently there are over 150 students
on the waiting list.
The Carrie Brazer Center for Autism & Alternative Approaches,
Inc. staff and board members also dedicate much of the private time
assisting in fundraising for Autism Research. In November 2000,
The Carrie Brazer Center was one of the 10 sponsors for the first
walk-a-thon of its kind for Autism research. All proceeds went to
the NAAR foundation, The National Alliance for Autism Research.
The Carrie Brazer Center had over 250 participants on their team
walking on November 4th and raised nearly $20,000 for research.
No other therapy center or school made quite the same effort or
impact on Autism research as had The Carrie Brazer Center.
Future Fundraising plans for The Carrie Brazer Center include
hosting a "PECS" (Picture Exchange Communication System)
seminar for 200 professionals and parents, as well as hosting a
national conference to provide parents with the latest research
in alternative approaches to healing Autism. The conference will
host guest speakers including nutritionists, neurologists, behavior
analysts, music, speech massage and occupational therapists as well
as psychotherapists and parent support group sessions.