BY MELISSA GAUTIER PHOTO BY THE TEAL ALBUM
Marigold ABA Therapy Center has recently unveiled the latest addition to its family of accredited academic school programs, ABA (applied behavior analysis), speech, and occupational therapy centers. Located in a newly renovated 100-year-old home in Fate, Texas, Marigold’s newest therapy center is charmingly different from its three other locations. However, the program’s focus remains the same: to create a loving, nurturing, and stimulating environment for children with autism and related disabilities.
The family-based program uses a team approach, working hand-in-hand with parents to nurture social, emotional, and cognitive development in young children. Learning inspires by giving them a chance to succeed and encouraging them to reach their greatest potential.
What is ABA?
Applied Behavior Analysis is the process of studying behavior to incorporate appropriate behavioral interventions. ABA therapy is considered one of the most effective treatments for children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. Research has shown that early, intensive behavioral intervention with the use of ABA therapy is key to engaging autistic children with other people as well as their environment to fully develop their capabilities.
A great deal of positive reinforcement is used to improve a child’s skills, increase desirable behaviors, and decrease unfavorable behaviors. Marigold’s use of ABA therapy assists in tempering disruptive behavior, and helps children with verbal and nonverbal communication, attention, and social skills. Teachers and therapists engage students to learn and allow parents to be involved in student programs and school activities.
Meet Karri Wilson
The Marigold program was started in Rockwall, Texas, in 2012 and has grown to include four therapy centers in outlying areas of Dallas, with two future locations already in the works. Founder, Owner, and Director Karri Shojaei-Scott developed Marigold ABA Therapy Center from a passionate desire to create a successful setting for children with autism and disabilities. Currently, she owns and operates four Marigold centers, located in what she believes are underserved areas. Each location provides an exclusive element to the Marigold program. Two locations in Greenville, one in Rockwall, and the newest one in Fate offer slightly different curriculums tailored to defined age groups.
“We are the first and only program of its kind specifically designed for children diagnosed with autism in the North Texas area,” Karri proclaims. “My ardent focus for each location is to encourage children’s development through the centers’ programs, and ultimately mainstream these children back into the school system.”
Indoor Gym and Pretend Play
Marigold’s center in Fate serves children ages 2-7. “It’s a cozy environment in a calm and comfortable home setting, nestled on an acre of land,” Karri says. “It’s a stone’s throw away from the newly designed downtown area.” A grove of beautiful pecan trees provide shade, as well as opportunities for outdoor learning. Inside, the focus is on pretend play, with an indoor little town and an indoor gym designed to foster creativity.
The new facility provides an area for young children to focus on social communication and skills — an essential step in the learning process to peer and family relationships. A team of professional therapists guides activities.
“Through developmentally appropriate play in our indoor gym, a child can reach crucial milestones for physical, sensory, and social development,” Karri explains. “Our program and activities at the Fate center allow children to play, explore, and socialize with peers in a relaxing, fun, and educational environment that includes a playhouse with twinkle lights, and a giant treehouse that is the focal point of the gym. Also located inside the gym is a diner to satisfy hungry bellies.”
Outdoor Learning and Play
There is a large outdoor space for movement, with an obstacle course and swings. It is a great space for building friendships through team sports, camps, and the “All Aboard the Mystery Bus” social skills program. Developed by a group of therapists, the focus is on teaching social competencies for local students with autism levels one and two to attend after school. “The program helps children understand others and themselves to better navigate the social world, foster relationships, and improve their performance at school and in the home,” Karri explains.
Skilled professional therapists accommodate the individual needs of each child by using developmentally appropriate curriculum, therapies, and learning materials that benefit and support the child’s emotional and social needs and goals. Appropriate student-to-teacher ratio, activities for daily living, and self-help skills are combined with various therapy programs including art and music, for a stimulating learning experience.
Highly qualified and experienced, Karri received her bachelor’s degree in early education/special education from Texas Woman’s University and earned her master’s in Principalship from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She went on to receive her BCBA (board certified behavior analyst) certification from Texas Tech University. She is currently working toward earning a doctoral degree. Karri and her three children reside in the growing community of Fate.
Marigold ABA Therapy Center in Fate is now accepting new patients. Due to privacy acts, only virtual tours are being conducted and scheduled on weekends and evenings, when school is not in session. Karri and her team look forward to meeting you and welcoming your child to learn and grow the Marigold way.
Marigold ABA Therapy Centers was voted Best Of in Living Magazine’s Readers’ Choice awards for Early Education (2017, 2020, and 2021) and Therapy Services (2020).
601 South Crawford Drive
Rockwall, Texas 75087