Historic legislation celebrated at the Thompson Center
Thursday, June 10, 2010 will forever be remembered as the day “autism counted” by families who have struggled to provide treatment for their children with the disorder. Governor Jay Nixon was joined by State Representatives Jason Grill, Jeannie Riddle, Mary Still, Chris Kelly and Jeff Grisamore and more than eight families who have children with autism as they celebrated the passing of House Bill 1311 into law at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.
“This new law will make Missouri a national leader in the diagnosis and treatment of autism, and it will lift a tremendous burden from thousands of families across our state,” Gov. Nixon said. “With the bill I’m signing today, parents of children with autism - who have faithfully paid their insurance premiums - will finally get the coverage they are entitled to. The law will ensure that ABA therapy is covered, and that families will not get kicked off their insurance plans or otherwise limited in their insurance options because they have a child with autism.” (read more)
Treating aggression in adolescents with autism
Adapted from a story by Cheri Ghan, director of external relations, MU School of Health Professions
Drs. Steve Kanne and Micah Mazurek are just a few months into a trial research project that could change therapy for aggressive adolescents with autism. Already the results are encouraging enough to seek funding for a larger trial. Their approach, multisystemic therapy (MST), combines treatment of the person with autism, the family and other social contacts with the aim of producing more sustainable changes in behavior and an improved quality of life for all of them. (read more)
More than 60 people gathered at PS: Gallery on Friday, June 4, to enjoy a reception for the Art for Autism Exhibit and Sale. The event was held by the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders to celebrate the creativity and ability of individuals who have autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or other neurodevelopmental disorders. The reception also helps to raise money for the Friends of the Thompson Center, a parent group that provides support to families who have children with ASD and other neurodevelopmental delays. (read more)
Also in this issue:
From our leadership
The past fiscal year has been one of significant accomplishments, especially on the part of our Thompson Foundation partners. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Ron Ashworth and Dr. Gay Tompkins and many others, the autism insurance initiative was enacted. This legislation will provide financial relief for many Missouri families who have not had adequate access to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapies.
Dr. Farmer and Dr. Kanne collaborated with Mr. Ashworth and Dr. Tompkins and other leaders in Missouri to prepare and disseminate the Missouri Best Practice Guidelines for Screening, Diagnosis, and Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders. This document represents a consensus of Missouri autism professionals and has tremendous potential to improve the quality of care across the state.
At the Center, our vision for a new facility with expanded clinical, research, and teaching capabilities is rapidly becoming a reality. Thanks to support from the State of Missouri and Senator Kit Bond, we have a new facility that will allow us to provide continued world-class care for Missouri children and families. The new Thompson Center at 205 Portland Street is almost twice the space of our current leased offices. A special word of thanks goes to SFS Architects Mike Christianer and Doug Barazza for their excellent design efforts and to our colleagues at Campus Facilities for their assistance. We plan to occupy this new space in late September of 2010.
Thompson Center administration is continually focused on recruiting and retaining qualified staff. This is particularly true for theIntervention Services Division, which provides behavioral interventions for children in need of these therapies. New faculty in this division will help us expand training programs for behavior analysts and meet the need for well-qualified ABA therapists.
We are engaged in a national search for a new Executive Director as Mr. Poehling transitions to new duties at the University of Missouri Health System. We are confident that we will be able to introduce this new leader to our stakeholders very soon. In addition to maintaining a high standard of excellence in clinical services, research and education, our search committee is focused on growth of the Thompson Center to meet the needs of Missouri families.
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
Dr. Janet Farmer
Director of Academic Programs