The new Acacia Center for the autistic at MSSU plans to open this August


JOPLIN, MO – Missouri Southern is getting ready to launch a new program focusing on therapy for the autistic.

The new program is called the Acacia Center, it will serve as the home for applied behavioral analysis therapy for MSSU.

“We want to be available for anyone who needs our services.” Says Ayla Schmick, MSSU Acacia Ctr.

Customized treatment for behavioral issues with a wider focus than other ABA therapy sites.

“Just any sort of skill set that anyone needs no diagnoses needed and we’re looking at the entire age range so we’re not capping at 18 or 21.” Says Schmick.

Schmick will head the new Acacia Center. She’s excited about the opportunities this opens up on campus for students looking for certification in ABA therapy.

“ABA to me, is looking at human behavior and saying okay what do we want to see an increase, decrease, maintain, and that’s really it in the simplest form.” Says Schmick.

In other words, it could be increasing skills for daily life, things like laundry or cooking. Or it could help reduce problematic reactions in some patients.

“How can we then help decrease that and maybe there’s some behaviors that we don’t necessarily want to go away, but we just want to reduce the intensity of and so really with ABA we’re looking at that and really focusing on what can we do, using our science backing us to help improve the lives of these individuals.” Says Schmick.

She adds there’s a big need in the area for those trained in the therapy, so students signing up for the program will likely have several options when they start the job hunt.

They hope to start operations around the beginning of the fall semester on August 16th.

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