By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new expansion project at the Center for Autism in Northeast Philadelphia creates room for more children to participate in their programs.

The new expansion of The Center For Autism at 2108 Grant Avenue has doubled the size of the facility; but CEO David Maeola says they are able to accommodate an additional 150 children in treatment because funds from the state grant awarded to the center were also used to create 45 full-time and 21 part-time jobs.

“We do what’s called ‘relationship-based therapy.’ So our therapists are literally on the floor, in the kids’ world,” Maeola explained.

He says while a lot of the children start here at the center as young as 2 years old, they also have extra programs to address the needs of people with autism.

“Our kids are here all day. In addition, we have what we call our social competency and our Saturday programs, which are for kids after school, and on Saturday we have kids as old as in their early 20’s.”

Nowadays, more children than ever are being treated for autism.

“So there’s always the question, is the prevalence actually rising or are we becoming better at diagnosing it? It’s probably both,” Maeola said.

He says the earlier you get treatment for a child, the better.

“If you start treating a child and start developing those pathways of communications, you’re going to have a very positive impact on their treatment,” Maeola said.

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