An Ahwatukee resident has been chosen for the first expansion of a Paradise Valley-based clinic that treats autism and other childhood disorders.
Megan Tadvick will be the inaugural clinical director of the new Ally Pediatric Therapy opening in Chandler this month. The clinic was formed in 2017.
Unlike the 5,000-square-foot Paradise Valley location, the Chandler location at Cooper and Germann roads will also provide home-based services.
Registered behavior technicians will work with children in their own homes – initially in Chandler and Gilbert. They will continue Ally Pediatric Therapy’s methodology, which includes applied behavior analysis.
Working closely with parents or caregivers, Ally Pediatric Therapy works with children ages 2 through 18 diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental challenges.
“Myself and others will go in and do direct care when we begin next month,” said Tadvick. “Registered behavior technicians will spend 20 to 40 hours a week in-home, depending on the clinical recommendation, and a supervisor coming in on a less-frequent basis to observe and supervise.”
For Tadvick, 33, passion for children with special needs began early when she was a high school student in Portland, Oregon.
“I volunteered with a variety of different children’s organizations while in high school. My junior and senior years I worked a hospital for medically fragile children. This is when my real passion for working with individuals with disabilities started,” said Tadvick, the third of four children and only daughter who attended the University of Idaho on a soccer scholarship.
It was there she met her husband, Jade, who played football for the University of Iowa Vandals. After graduating in 2007 and marrying her college sweetheart, Tadvick moved to Arizona.
“It was very cold there, that’s why we chose Arizona,” she laughed.
It was also an opportunity to start her career here and further her education in her chosen field at Arizona State University.
“My first job out of undergraduate was at a private day placement in Glendale,” she said. “Most of the students there had significant problem behavior and limited communication skills. During this experience, I realized I loved working with individuals with developmental disabilities and autism.”
Tadvick has two boys, 9 and 6, who attend Kyrene de la Estella Elementary.
“My supervisor at the time told me about the ASU master’s program and the track to become a board-certified behavior analyst. I then enrolled in graduate school and worked as a direct care provider for two years gaining my supervision fieldwork experience.”
In 2011, she also earned her master’s in special education consultation and collaboration.
Tadvick was a clinical supervisor, and later assistant director of focused interventions at HOPE Group in Ahwatukee.
Last year, she accepted a position as a board-certified behavior analyst at the Bista Center, a part of Arizona Centers for Comprehensive Education and Life Skills.
Tadvick agrees the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder has become more common in the past decades. Autism is defined as a “complex neurodevelopmental condition” which as yet has no proven single cause.
In their most recent assessment, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said 1 in 59 children have been diagnosed – up 15 percent from the average 1-in-68 cases diagnosed in 2014.
The advocacy group Autism Speaks warns the figures may be higher.
“However, prevalence estimates varied widely between monitoring sites, with significantly higher numbers at sites where researchers had full access to school records. This suggests that the new national numbers reflect a persistent undercount of autism’s true prevalence among the nation’s children,” reads their website.
Tadvick said that makes Ally Pediatric Therapy all the more important in the East Valley.
“I think there’s definitely a need for ABA and early intervention programs,” she said.