Ozark Center for Autism up for adoption

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - Ozark Center for Autism up for adoption

JOPLIN, Mo.—Ozark Center for Autism preschool and Special Education Center have been added to the Bright Futures Adopt-a-Classroom program. Established by Joplin Public Schools, this initiative was created to aid teachers trying to restock their classroom following damage sustained during the May 22 tornado. The program connects individuals and organizations with local teachers to help them meet their needs.

The buildings that housed Ozark Center for Autism and its Autism Diagnostic Team were destroyed during the storm. Since that time, Ozark Center for Autism has not only resumed treatment in temporary locations, its number of students—as well as its need—has increased.

“We are extremely grateful to Joplin Public Schools for extending this incredible partnership to Ozark Center for Autism,” said Paula Baker, Freeman Chief Clinical Officer and administrator for all autism programming. “Ozark Center for Autism is replenishing its classrooms but we are doing so from the bottom up. The Adopt-a-Classroom program will provide immense help during our greatest time of need.”

In addition to the destruction of the facilities that housed Ozark Center for Autism and the Autism Diagnostic Team, most of the preschool and Special Education Center supplies, materials, technology, and office equipment were wiped out, as well. Despite this fact, services for some students resumed less than a week after the storm. Currently, Ozark Center for Autism is operating out of temporary locations at The Bridge and Ronald McDonald House and through in-home visits.

While Ozark Center for Autism has plans to rebuild, treatment for children must continue. Unfortunately, insurance will not cover all the materials lost in the storm. Those individuals or businesses interested in adopting Ozark Center for Autism may visit brightfuturesjoplin.org.

About Ozark Center
An integral component of Freeman Health System based in Joplin, Missouri, Ozark Center provides comprehensive behavioral health services to children, adults, and families in an area that includes more than 450,000 residents from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Ozark Center continually looks for innovative ways to address the mental health needs of the community and promote awareness of mental illness in an effort to eliminate the discrimination associated with it. For more information, visit ozarkcenter.com or call 417.347.7600.