Finley Stanek, 5, has autism spectrum disorder, is developmentally delayed and non-verbal. To help him learn and grow, Finley has received therapy from Fraser, Minnesota's largest provider of autism-related services, for more than two years.
But getting treatment meant his parents had to drive to Fraser's Minneapolis and Eagan locations - both up to 30 minutes each way.
Now, services are closer than ever for Finley.
Fraser Woodbury Clinic opened Monday, June 25, at 721 Commerce Drive off Tamarack Road. The 27,000 square-foot building is designed with "sensory-friendly" lighting and acoustics that are often more comfortable for people with special needs.
Services offered at the Woodbury location will include:
• Comprehensive autism and mental health evaluations
• Treatment and intervention services
• Autism and mental health day treatment
• Case management
• Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
• Pediatric therapy
• Adult mental health
"It's a two-mile drive rather than a 25-mile drive," Finley's father and Woodbury resident Lee Stanek said. "Our family life will be different. ... We're looking forward to having that change."
With a location in Woodbury, Finley will be able to receive treatment like speech and occupational therapy on a regular basis, as well as more intensive treatments he had been on a waiting list to receive at other clinics.
One out of every 59 children has autism spectrum disorder - an increase of 15 percent in two years, according to a study released in April 2018 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Alice Seagren is the vice chair on the Fraser Board of Directors and a former Minnesota state representative. At the Woodbury location's ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, June 20, Seagren told the story of her son, Greg, who was born with brain damage nearly 40 years ago. Seagren and her husband struggled to find adequate resources and support for their son, whom doctors advised her to institutionalize. They refused. Since then, she has worked to make services and information more available to families of children with special needs.
"I don't want any other family to go through what we did, to have to figure it out all by themselves," Seagren said.
Fraser estimates the Woodbury clinic will serve more than 1,200 children in its first year. They say their long-term goal is "to ensure no family will have to travel more than 35 minutes or 35 miles within Minnesota" to receive their services, according to a news release.
Fraser's other clinics are located in Coon Rapids, Bloomington, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Minneapolis and Richfield.