The Southeast Missouri State University Autism Center for Diagnosis and Treatment will become the fourth Missouri Autism Center dedicated to decreasing the wait list for obtaining a diagnosis of autism funded by the Department of Mental Health, Division of Developmental Disabilities. The three existing Missouri Autism Centers which serve this same purpose are the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at Missouri State University in Columbia; Knights of Columbus Developmental Center, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis; and The Children’s Mercy Hospital, Section of Developmental and Behavioral Sciences in Kansas City.
These centers are connected directly to the Division of Developmental Disabilities’ Office of Autism Services under the leadership of Director Tec Chapman. This office tracks the diagnostic wait-time of families, as well as the age of individuals at diagnosis. Additionally, this office supports each center’s efforts to provide educational presentations and a comprehensive coordinated approach to training of professionals who provide diagnostic and treatment services to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families.
A primary goal for the activities of the Missouri Autism Centers is to decrease the amount of wait-time a family may experience in Missouri before being seen by a qualified diagnostic team when a child or student exhibits characteristics that may be consistent with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. With timely, accurate diagnoses, families, school personnel and medical personnel will be better equipped to provide beneficial treatment for improved outcomes, hopefully at the earliest age possible.
Connie Hébert reports it a privilege to serve as the Director for our Center and to assist Southeast Missouri State University in designing the diagnostic services as well as the treatment services that will be provided in collaboration with Judevine® Center for Autism, Southeast Missouri and The Tailor Institute. The collaborative partnership of the Southeast Missouri State University Autism Center is one of the most unique features of this Missouri Autism Center.
Collaborators have been meeting regularly to design the physical center and develop our partnership. As we near the opening of our Center, more and more time will be spent defining how we will continue to provide services in our region and expand these services to meet additional needs, where possible. This will also involve collaborating with additional service providers and entities in Southeast Missouri housed outside of our Center.