Freeman News

Racing Enthusiasts Show Support for Children with Autism

December 18, 2017

Members of "Rats for Autism" Visit Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism

Members of Rats for Autism visited children at Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism for a morning of fun. Members brought a variety of “rat rods” for children to enjoy. A “rat rod” is a name given to a hot rod that has been typically hand-built and void of detailing such as high-gloss paint. 

Children had the opportunity to watch a “rat rod” flame demonstration and climb inside the vehicles. Members also gave logo stickers and shirts to children and staff members. Rats for Autism was started by a local father whose son attends Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism. The goal is to raise awareness about autism and show support for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

Developed in consultation with the Cleveland Clinic Autism Consulting Group, Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism provides Applied Behavior Analysis, an intensive therapy proven to unlock parts of the brain that control function such as language, emotion, social skills and interest. In 2010, a Special Education Center was created, expanding therapy services to students from kindergarten through 12th grade. In 2011, the center established the Four State’s first Autism Diagnostic Team, which offers the resources of an entire team of diagnostic professionals.

About Ozark Center

An integral component of Freeman Health System based in Joplin, Mo., 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 or call 417.347.7600.

About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2017, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. The Leapfrog Group awarded Freeman the highest grade possible in the Fall 2017 Hospital Patient Safety Score. With more than 300 physicians on staff representing more than 70 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit