Treatments and therapies for autism (copy)

Autism is one of a group of serious developmental problems called autism spectrum disorder that appears in early childhood — usually before age 3.

PORT CHARLOTTE — A provider of autism services and therapy announced the opening of a new center in Port Charlotte.

“There is a big need in this area,” said CEO Jon Evans, who heads Virtus Health which operates centers in North Port, Sarasota, Bradenton, Fort Myers, Naples and Pensacola.

He said the Virtus Heath center at Bobcat Village in North Port, 3 miles away from the new Port Charlotte center, had many clients and the company wanted to provide more access.

“Our goal is to help every child to be as independent and functioning as much as possible,” Evans said.

Evans said Virtus Health provides one-on-one care and services for children with autism spectrum disorder using “applied behavior analysis therapy provided by top experts, clinicians, and certified therapists.”

Children with ASD can be treated at a Virtus Health center, in their family’s home, or in partnership with their local school.

Evans said each child’s therapy and assistance is customized to meet the child’s specific needs, such as behavioral, social, adaptive and daily living skills.

Working with the child’s school, Virtus Health helps the student “ease back into the school setting,” he said.

However, this is not possible for all children with ASD, and some require help in the basics, such as daily-living skills, said Evans.

He said the school does not pay for any of the services offered to its students; rather, care is paid for by the child’s insurance.


Virtus Health accepts most insurance plans, scholarships, and will work with the family’s insurance company.

The new center in Port Charlotte has a de-sense room, play areas, individual and shared therapy rooms, kitchen and eating facilities, and more.

For some children who are not in school, they may spend an entire day at the center.

Evans said the Port Charlotte center will expand as more families express their need for these services.

Recent CDC statistics showed that 1 in 54 children are on the autism spectrum.

“There are now 1 million cases in the state of Florida,” Evans said.

According to a Johns Hopkins study published in March 2020 in conjunction with the CDC, boys are four to five times more likely to has ASD than girls.

For boys, the ASD rate is at 2.97%, or 1 in 34 boys, while girls’ rate is 0.69%, or 1 in 145 girls.

So far there is no definitive known cause of ASD, although environmental factors are thought to be one of the triggers.

The Port Charlotte Virtus Health center is at 992 Tamiami Trail. For information call 800-217-9289 or visit www.Virtus.Health.

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