University of Missouri
205 Portland Street
Columbia, MO 65211

a picture of the members of the ABIS team

Exclusive Inclusivity

The Thompson Center prides itself on creating an open and accessible environment for people of all abilities. No group illustrates this commitment better than Thompson Center Applied Behavior Intervention Services (ABIS) team, which was recently awarded the Lee Henson Award for Accessibility by the Mizzou Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity.

The Lee Henson Award annually honors those who respond above and beyond to a particular disability, inclusion or accessibility concern or need at Mizzou; champion universal design to make Mizzou a more inclusive place for people with disabilities; and demonstrate and model a commitment over time to improving the inclusion of people with disabilities or the accessibility of Mizzou’s campus and programs.

The Thompson Center ABIS team provides services that encourage their clients to build the skills to prepare them for inclusive environments on campus and in the community of Columbia. In addition, the team also provides training and support for community organizations regarding increasing the success of individuals with disabilities in those locations. Through individualized and group trainings, the ABIS team has prepared different locations and individuals across Columbia to better serve populations with many types of abilities.

“We are so proud of our ABIS team and the amazing services they provide to our patients on a daily basis,” said Dr. Stephen Kanne, Thompson Center executive director. “The ABIS team truly embodies the spirit of inclusion that the Thompson Center strives for daily; they change the lives of every patient and client family that comes through our doors.”

The Thompson Center ABIS team provides behavioral treatment and support to individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related disabilities between the ages of 18 months and 22 years. Comprised of six Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA), ABIS is directed by Dr. Casey Clay, a BCBA and an assistant professor in the MU College of Education Department of Special Education.

“The goal of ABIS is to increase access to multiple locations for our clients by teaching them skills that will lead to independence,” Clay said. “Additionally, ABIS’s mission is to increase access to services for children with disabilities. For example, we are dedicated to decreasing wait list for services.”

Recent ABIS service expansion extended assistance to individuals who demonstrate severe problem behavior in the community, individuals who experience challenges in social situations, as well as teacher and parent education opportunities. Additionally, the team accepts generally underrepresented client populations who might not otherwise have the resources to receive these often costly and time-intensive services.

The ABIS team has helped countless individuals within the Mizzou and mid-Missouri community continue to reach their full potential by including inclusive practices in every part of their daily work. The Thompson Center continues to strive toward a more inclusive world, and the ABIS team is leading the way!