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Columbia, MO: New autism center opens; 'a ton of demand'

Aug 2, 2021, Columbia (MO) Missourian: New children's autism center to open in downtown Columbia https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/local/new-childrens-autism-center-to-open-in-downtown-columbia/article_d079f23a-f159-11eb-b432-5767cfde7143.html

A new autism center, scheduled to open downtown in September, is accepting referrals for children between the ages of 18 months and 18 years. UCP Heartland Autism Services already has eight patients on the referral list. The center on South Fourth Street in Columbia works with children one-on-one and in social skills groups, according to Laura Barnes, the center’s clinical director…. For the clinic to be able to see more patients, more board-certified behavior analysts and registered behavior technicians are needed, Barnes said. Applied behavior analysis is in demand across the country, she said. As a licensed board-certified behavior analyst for 12 years, she has watched the waiting lists grow for the service. “The demand far outweighs the available providers,” she said. “There’s a ton of demand for the services, and there’s not enough people to fill it.”… Reflecting on the nature of her work, she said, “I think autistic kids see the world in a different way, and it’s really fun for me and the staff to see the world in a different perspective, too.”