The Center for Disease Control has recently determined that 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Further, 1 in 38 boys will receive a diagnosis of ASD. Autism Spectrum Disorder is characterized by restrictive interests and communication-social skills deficits.
North GA Autism Foundation (NGAF), Inc. was originally formed to help fill the significant gaps in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) services in our local area (Fannin, Gilmer, Union Counties) and across North Georgia, Polk County, TN and Cherokee County, NC. Early detection and intense intervention can dramatically change the life of a child with ASD. It quickly became obvious that life span support services were also lacking. NGAF expanded its mission to support individuals with disabilities from birth through life.
Transition to adulthood and meaningful career development are challenges for people with disabilities. NGAF provides career development services through the Pathway Program, supported employment through the Community Enterprises Program and transformational education through the Georgia Bridge Academy.
The Autism and Developmental Clinic provides pediatric speech therapy, diagnostic assessments and “free” family support services.
The Counseling Center provides professional counselling and play therapy.
The NGAF Community Enterprise Art Gallery provides employment opportunities for adult artists and adults seeking work in a retail setting. The Counseling Center provides employment opportunities for adults that want to work in a clinical or office setting.
Our goal is to help every person reach their full potential. Unfortunately, in our area, many critical services are missing, lack capacity or are inappropriate. Fundamental services like pediatric occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy are not available or have long wait lists. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), is an evidence-based treatment for ASD that significantly improves behaviors and social skill development, but is expensive and scarce. NGAF is encouraging more ABA providers to begin serving children in our area.
NGAF seeks to support individuals and families living with the challenges of autism, other developmental disorders and people with disabilities. We know there are children and adults in our community that are not receiving ASD services and disability services, we need to reach out to these families and bring them hope.
Let’s not lose another generation of ASD children and leave them destined to never live independently. Please help us change the life of a child forever and help everyone in our community live a life well lived.
For more information or to answer any additional questions please call Tripp Ritchie at (706) 946-0499 or email, Tripp.Ritchie@ngafinc.org.