Started in Carmel, Indiana, Little Star Center is a non-profit organization founded in 2002 to serve the needs of children and families affected by autism. A pioneer in the state of Indiana, our state-of-the-art facility offers an environment where children receive individual intervention based on the fundamental principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Verbal Behavior. Families are provided the support they need to face the challenges of autism and become integral partners in their child’s success.
Every 1 in 110 children born will be diagnosed with autism in some form. That is more than Down’s Syndrome, childhood cancers and cerebral palsy – put together. (Center for Disease Control, 2006)
In 2001, Steele and Amy Gudal faced many challenges with their daughter, Gentry, who was diagnosed with autism. They had done everything they were told to do – First Steps, private speech and occupational therapy, the school district’s developmental pre-school program, but still found that Gentry struggled and made limited progress. After much research, the Gudal’s found the treatment their daughter needed – Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA was (and still is) the only treatment for autism endorsed by the American Surgeon General and considered to be the best researched treatment by the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, the closest treatment facility was five states away – there were none in Indiana. Undaunted, the Gudals founded Little Star Center for their Gentry and for other families who needed the same intensive, medically necessary treatment for their children. The Gudals created a center model so unique that families from Florida, Ohio, Sri Lanka, Massachusetts and California have come to obtain services at Little Star.
Tragically, in the spring of 2006, Steele Gudal was killed in a small plane crash. Jim DeVoe, Steele’s father-in-law (and Amy’s dad), was also killed. The contributions these two men made to all Hoosier families affected by autism will never be forgotten.
Little Star Center opened its second location in Lafayette, Indiana in March of 2011.
Today, Little Star has over 70 employees working toward the success of its clients and is continuing to grow to meet the needs of even more children. Through this growth, however, Little Star has kept its core mission as its top priority. Little Star Center provides year round therapeutic intervention and various other programs for children with autism based on the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
Since its inception, Little Star has become a shining example of a grass-roots effort. Each year Little Star serves more children and families and offers support to the autism Indiana community. Little Star Center was the first ABA center for children with autism in Indiana and celebrated its 9th Anniversary in September, 2011.
In August of 2011, Little Star Center was named the 2011 Excellence in Direct Care award winner by the Autism Society of Indiana. Little Star is the first center of its kind to win this title. To read more about this award, Click Here!
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