Eden Autism Services Celebrates 15 years of Service to Southwest Florida

A national center of excellence in providing treatment and training for children and adults with autism.

It began with one mom looking for some help for her
daughter. Fifteen years later, Eden Autism Services is one of the largest
autism service organizations in Southwest Florida, providing a wide range of
community-based services to improve the lives of children and adults with
autism and their families.


Eden Florida was founded in 1996 shortly after MerryLee
Kandel met a speech therapist, Leslie Sinclair, who worked for the Eden
Institute of New Jersey and had relocated to Fort Myers. They saw the state’s
growing need for specialized services for children and adults with autism and
began fundraising efforts to form a division of the Eden Institute in Southwest


Today, Eden Autism Services provides program consultations,
early intervention and other clinical services, education for school age
students and residential and employment services for adults. They operate day
schools in Fort Myers and in Naples, fully accredited by the National Private
Schools Accreditation Alliance to serve children and adults with autism from
Pre-K to grade 12 (ages 5 to 22).


“Within the past fifteen years, Eden has dramatically
expanded both its scope of services and the geographic areas being served.”
said Susan Suarez, Executive Director of Eden’s Florida operations. “We are
particularly proud of our early intervention efforts which are vital for a
child’s long term success.  We are working with parents and healthcare
professionals to get appropriate diagnosis at an early age.  Beginning
training as early at 1 ½ years of age can greatly impact their developmental
progress. "


Eden offers both in-person and online support and training
programs for families and professionals. The Eden Curriculum has been upgraded
and reformatted to be available through electronic download in such formats as
IPAD, Nook and Kindle.


“Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 110
children in the United States. The number diagnosed in Florida has tripled over
the last ten years. Our ability to grow and service the growing need in SW
Florida is solely due to the generosity of our donors, volunteers and
staff.”  Suarez said.


To learn more about Eden Autism Services, contact Susan
Suarez at 239-992-4680 extension 5010 or Eden.florida@edenautism.org.


About the Schools

The Eden Schools teach students who are within the full
range of Autism Spectrum Disorder. They are staffed by experienced
professionals trained in the techniques of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).The
Eden Autism Curriculum is a comprehensive series of teaching programs covering
essential skill areas that include academic instruction as well as self-care
skills, and domestic and vocational skills. All students receive instruction in
a low student to teacher ratio to provide an environment that maximizes each
student’s potential for learning.


The Eden School Naples is located at the Eimerman Education
Center where swimming and safety instruction is taught in the school's heated
pool. Other physical education activities include tennis and basketball. The Eden
School Fort Myers is located downtown in the Education Wing of the First
Presbyterian Church.


About Autism

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person's
ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often
accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed
in one in 110 children in the United States, and one in 70 boys. The prevalence
of autism has increased 600 percent in the past two decades. The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health
crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.