JOPLIN, Mo. — About one in 59 children are diagnosed with autism in Missouri but nearly 70% can’t find the resources they need.
Missouri Southern State University is coming together to create a new Applied Behavior Analysis Program. This not only create a new avenue for students in the degree but also provide resources to young children on the autism spectrum.
Ayla Schmick, Asst. Professor of Psychology, said, “There are wait lists of over 500 kids, waiting to get into some clinic or center to work on these skills and so these waitlists, with having hundreds of children on there, are years worth of waiting.”
And it didn’t come easy. There were plans to begin the program earlier when the pandemic put things on pause.
Holly Hackett, Chair of Psychology Dept., said, “This is the second grant that we had applied for, We also were awarded the MoExcel grant that is now on hold due to COVID, but hopefully that’ll come through.”
But now the plan is underway thanks to the Child Care in Higher Education Grant. Construction will start on November 9Th and plans are in place to start enrollment soon.
“Our hope is that we can get construction done, kinda early around the beginning of 2021, with hopes of opening the clinic in the summer of 2021,” said Schmick.
And MSSU will be able to support their students and their community that needs help.
“This is our opportunity, this is our chance to give back to those that need us the most.”