JOPLIN, Mo. – About one in 59 children in Missouri are diagnosed with autism, but almost 70% can’t find the resources they need.
Missouri Southern State University is meeting to create a new applied behavior analysis program. This not only creates a new avenue for graduate students, but also provides resources for young children with the autism spectrum.
Ayla Schmick, assistant. The psychology professor said: “There are waiting lists of over 500 children waiting to enter a clinic or center to work on these skills and therefore these waiting lists, with hundreds of kids out there, are worth years of waiting.
And it was not easy. It was planned to start the program earlier when the pandemic put things on hold.
Holly Hackett, chair of the psychology department, said: “This is the second grant we have applied for, we also received the MoExcel grant which is now on hold due to COVID, but I hope it will happen.”
But now the plan is underway thanks to the subsidy for childcare in higher education. Construction will begin on November 9 and plans are in place to begin registration soon.
“Our hope is that we can complete the construction, a bit early around the beginning of 2021, with the hope of opening the clinic in the summer of 2021,” Schmick said.
And MSSU will be able to support their students and their community who need help.
“This is our chance, this is our chance to give back to those who need us most.”