As the number of children diagnosed with autism increases, so is the need for services.

  • Tampa company that works with autistic children opens 5th location 
  • Engage Behavioral Health works on reducing problem behaviors
  • Newest location in Wesley Chapel

A Tampa Bay Area company started in 2008 and is now opening its fifth location in Wesley Chapel. Four are in the Tampa Bay Area.

Jennifer Phelps opened Engage Behavioral Health in Tampa in 2008, but it has been her dream since she was 13.

“I had read a book called ‘Let Me Hear Your Voice’ that was about autism and applied behavioral analysis and I fell in love with it,” said Phelps. “I drew the floor plans for the clinic I wanted to own.”

She now has five physical clinics in Florida and three virtual clinics to keep up with the growing number of children diagnosed with autism--which affects one in 68 children and one in 42 boys.

“There’s an increasing number of children that are benefiting from applied behavior analysis therapy, and there are currently not enough providers to meet those needs across the United States,” said Phelps.

At Engage Behavioral Health, Phelps says they’re trying to bridge the gap, providing services at the clinic and at home.

“We provide applied behavioral analysis therapy which focuses on reducing problem behaviors that may be inhibiting the child’s ability to interact with their school, with friends, in their home.”

Phelps says the goal is to teach children the skills they need to become independent and one day well-rounded adults.

Phelps plans to open another location in Hernando County next year.