CARD office in Denham Springs says its ready to see autism clients again

CARD office in Denham Springs says its ready to see autism clients again

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - Many residents were displaced by the flood and uprooted from their daily routines and that includes individuals coping with autism.

For them, displacement can be an unfamiliar and scary situation. However, there's good news for a one organization trying to help them.

The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) in Denham Springs had about 4' of water in its building, displacing all of the clients who get treatment there.

CARD is a nationwide organization that provides therapy and treatment to individuals who fall on the autism spectrum. It serves about 45 to 50 clients in the area and 12 percent of its clients were affected by the flood.

But now, just a little over a month after the flood, the building and staff are ready to see clients again. Staff members put a call out for help and received aid from across the nation from their CARD offices.

They received many donations in the form of office and classroom supplies, along with toys for clients. Now, staff members are getting ready to fill classrooms and open their doors next Monday.

CARD regional manager Dr. Catherine Heard said after the long journey to get here, she wants the community to know they are ready to serve their clients and welcome new ones.

"With some children, we're working on the ability to communicate to get their needs met," Heard said. "Whereas, other children, we're working on social communication. How to have a conversation with somebody, how to read somebody's body language and facial expression in order to have a friendship or relationship. And then some, we're working on adaptive skills. Can they use the toilet? Can they make a sandwich for themselves? It just depends on where they fall in that spectrum and what we're working on with them."

One of the employees out of the Baton Rouge office started an online crowdfunding campaign, which raised more than $10,000. The CEO of the company said she will match that donation dollar-for-dollar. They'll have $20,000 to give to family members, clients and staff who were displaced by the flood.

CARD currently has two offices in and around Baton Rouge. There are plans to add three more offices in the area by the end of this year.

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