BEAR Center fills gap in community health

The BEAR Center opened its doors at Northern Michigan University in May. BEAR stands for:  Behavior, Education, Assessment and Research.  The center aims to help children with autism, language deficits and other disabilities. Dr. Jacob Daar, the center’s director, said it acts as a community access point for services, with the Early Intensive Learning Program.

“The EILO clinic is a free-to-the-community service provider, so any child that is brought to us, if it is something that we feel that we can help with…we help … The clinic here itself is not a billing agency.  We don’t charge.  If it’s something we can help with, we do,” Daar said.

Once you pass through the reception area and walk into the center, it looks a lot like a preschool: there are toys that beep and make noises and colorful balls to play with. Daar said the preschool-like area is called the Natural Environment Zone.

“This space is essentially a preschool or early intervention, so before the age of 5,  basically from 2 to 6,” he said.

The space is used with children who are experiencing language deficits. Employees of the BEAR Center help develop functional language and social behaviors, essentially preparing the kids for school…

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