WAITE PARK (WJON News) -- An organization specializing in mental health and Autism care is moving into Greater Minnesota.

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Fraser Autism Center of Excellence has opened a new satellite location at 314 10th Avenue South, Suite 100 in Waite Park. This is the organization’s first location outside of the Twin Cities metro.

Jessica Adams is the Clinical Services Manager for the Applied Behavior Analysis team. She says that while the organization operates a variety of care centers, the satellite locations specifically offer one-to-one intensive pediatric therapy.

These F.A.C.E.S. sites are ABA specifically, in conjunction with pediatric therapy. So, that's different from our clinics that have outpatient, day treatment, and things like that.

The site offers occupational and speech therapies, as well as individual, group, and family training with ABA principles. Kids ages two through seven can be enrolled in the program which takes place Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 3:50 p.m. year-round.

Adams says most of their clients come to them having already received a formal diagnosis.

Prior to being enrolled in our program, typically we see our clients already having a diagnostic assessment completed, having that diagnosis, and then being referred to our program.

Adams says the organization continues to expand and saw a need for children’s mental health services in the St. Cloud area. Fraser’s goal is to eventually make it so any client in the state does not have to drive more than 30 minutes to receive the help they need.

The Applied Behavior Analysis approach started in the 1960s and works to address and change specific and immediate behavioral issues. This is done by establishing a routine and using positive reinforcement to create patterns of desired behaviors. The process is rooted in the idea that behavior is directly affected by environment.

The approach has proven to be both effective and controversial. While some say it has helped many patients develop their social and emotional skills, others argue it establishes behaviors as "normal" and or "other" and engineers robotic responses.

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Fraser was started in 1935 by Louise Whitbeck Fraser after doctors recommended she institutionalize her daughter who had lost her hearing. Instead, she decided to open a school in her home for kids who were not well served by standard educational institutions.

Since then, the organization has grown to include clinics, community living centers, and satellite locations across Minnesota offering Autism and mental health care to people of all ages.

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