Apr 19, 2023, Springfield (MO) News-Leader: In a diagnosis desert, Springfield autism center aims to reduce wait time for evaluations https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2023/04/19/springfield-center-focused-on-autism-diagnoses-plans-to-open-late-2023/70111094007/
As of the moment, Missouri has six centers where people can seek an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis: St. Louis has three centers, while Kansas City, Columbia and Cape Girardeau each have one. But for people in southwest Missouri, the options are limited.
"We’re in a desert. There are little things: Mercy, the Arc and Missouri State have had a diagnostic clinic that eeks out a couple (evaluations) a month, but we’re talking — we have hundreds of kids waiting," said Dr. Kyle John, a child and adolescent psychiatrist.
Springfield's Burrell Behavioral Health also offers evaluations and services for those with autism, and has done so since 2008. According to Matthew Lemmon, vice president of communications for Burrell, their autism center is on pace to have more than 12,500 visits this year, including more than 200 diagnostic evaluations.
Arc of the Ozarks, a non-profit that provides services to families and individuals with disabilities, is planning on creating an oasis in that desert by opening a neurodevelopmental and autism center in late 2023. John is the medical director for that center, which is in partnership with Mercy Hospital and Missouri State University.