HEART FOR KIDS: New autism therapy center to host open house


Elizabeth Chapple is director of a new autism center located off of Mt. Comfort Road in Hancock County. The center will deal directly with children with clients coming from in and around Hancock County as well as Indianapolis. Wednesday, March 29, 2023.

HANCOCK COUNTY — Elizabeth Chapple says she’s always had a heart for kids.

That love is what led her to open Chapple House Therapies — an Applied Behavioral Analysis center for autistic kids — which now has a new home along the Mt. Comfort corridor.

The public is invited to tour the facility from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22, which coincides with Autism Awareness Month.

The center, at 6169 W. 300 North, has taken over the former Mt. Comfort Commons just west of Mt. Comfort Road.

“We have 10,000 square feet but are only using about 7,000 right now,” said Chapple, who has been working to transform the former office space into a homey, inviting center for families seeking support for problematic behaviors in kids.

Chapple said she was motivated to open a new center in the Greenfield area due to a lack of ABA clinics between Greenfield and Indianapolis. She was also drawn to the accessibility of the location just off I-70 and Mt. Comfort Road.

She’s now working with 18 families in the Hancock County area, and plans to turn the new center into her new headquarters after outgrowing an Indianapolis location.

“Our clinic is modeled off of a play center and has different work play stations. There’s different rooms including a sensory room, calming room, and an imaginary play area for preschool and elementary kids, and then your older zone,” said Chapple, who serves children ages 2-18.

Wilkinson mom Michelle Holliday said Chapple’s services have made a big impact for her family, who began home-based therapy when her son Reid, now 10, was struggling to adjust to having a new baby sister in the fall of 2020.

The help they received has enabled him to successfully attend public school at Eastern Hancock Elementary school, where he’s now a fourth-grader.

“Reid has been to an ABA center since he was 4 years old, but the majority of his issues were taking place at home, so we wanted to work on that at home,” said Holliday, whose son has seen marked improvement at both home and school.

Applied Behavioral Analysis is a form of therapy focused on the understanding of how behavior applies to real situations.

According to the advocacy organization Autism Speaks, “the goal (of ABA) is to increase behaviors that are helpful and decrease behaviors that are harmful or affect learning.”

Chapple said she’s long been a strong proponent for ABA therapy, which has been used for decades to decrease problem behaviors, increase language and communication skills and improve attention, focus, social skills, memory and academics.

She first started practicing the therapy when she became a behavior technician for autistic children in 2009, and made it her sole focus when launching her own clinic-based and home-based practice.

“Our model is focused toward families, making sure parents are involved in the process by providing parent coaching at both the clinic and at home,” she said.

As the oldest of four children, Chapple got a start dealing with kids early in life, working at a daycare while in high school and college.

She was introduced to an ABA clinic by a parent of one of the children she cared for.

“I saw how systematic and how fun the teaching was, and that it was so beneficial and effective. Ever since then it’s felt like second nature to me,” she said.

Chapple feels a sense of accomplishment whenever she’s able to help a family meet their goals, like helping a child go from non-verbal to verbal, or to help a child start interacting more with their family.

Holliday said the ABA services have worked wonders for her son, who has acclimated to public school and has grown much more tolerant of his baby sister.

“Now he’s listening and he’s tolerating his baby sister’s crying, and he’s interacting more with his cousins and his sister,” she said.

She and her husband, Tony, have monthly meetings with Chapple’s team, who help them troubleshoot problem areas as they arise.

“We communicate with his program manager on different issues that come up, and they help us to come up with an action plan,” she said.

Chapple is anxious to share the possibilities of ABA therapy with other families, and encourages those interested to stop by the April 22 open house for a tour, light snacks and indoor and outdoor activities for kids.

For more information on her center, visit ChappleHouseTherapies.com.