Farmington Hills-based Centria offers Autism therapy in 10 states

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William DeYonker is a mean shot at the pool table, doing stunts that most could only dream of. The 27-year-old has autism but sees the challenge as a gift.  

"Autism is a great learning experience and also a great opportunity for people to shine with their talents," he said.

He's the brand ambassador for a company called Centria Autism. Based in Farmington Hills, it serves 3,000 families in 10 states including Michigan. The families that call, often just find out that their baby has autism.

William is a brand ambassador and video expert at Centria, whose own story had his family throwing the rule book of parenting out the window. He has a mild form and is more than able to hold down a job and excel at it, something the 500 employees at Centria hope to give other families who call. One of the hardest first steps is insurance. 

"When they come to us we have individuals that understand all the insurances that will help the family through every step of the process," said Rick Loewenstein. "It's unusual, there's not many places around the country that do that - if any. Our team actually hand-holds the family through the entire process."

The next step is getting Applied Behavior Analysis therapy or ABA into the homes of kids with autism. This month is dedicated globally to the cause.  

"World Autism Awareness month is the month of April. At Centria, our World Autism Awareness month is every day. So every day, we are working toward serving the people that we do," he said.

ABA therapy helps those dealing with autism do things that helps them adjust smoothly into daily life with the family. 

"The task could be sitting at a table, for dinner. That could be the ultimate goal-sitting at the table with your family for Dinner. The way to break that down is into parts to work in 10-15 second increments and offer positive reinforcement," he said.

Then they work on the next 30 seconds, then the next minute, then five minutes. It's therapy that William has gone through, and the brand ambassador wears his title with pride.    

"To showcase my life story about my life being on the spectrum of autism and the challenges I overcame as well as the different important aspects of my life that put me in the position to where I am today," William said.

The goal is to cue up a bright future like what William has today.

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