Thompson Center to celebrate new center, director

Thursday, December 2, 2010 | 6:20 p.m. CST; updated 1:43 p.m. CST, Friday, December 3, 2010

COLUMBIA — The Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at MU will open its new doors at 205 Portland St. on Friday and welcome its new executive director, Joel Bregman.

The new building will offer 10,000 square feet more space than the center had at the formerly-occupied 300 Portland St. location, according to a news release from the MU News Bureau. It will include resources such as books, toys and computers for families to use, more therapy and examination rooms and a cafe.

 A ribbon cutting will take place at 10 a.m. outside the center with guest speakers including Gov. Jay Nixon and MU Chancellor Brady Deaton. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

The space vacated at 300 Portland St. will be filled by child health offices and pediatric rehabilitation, former Thompson Center director James Poehling said.

Bregman developed autism research centers at Emory University and the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System and held the title of director of clinical research at Fay J. Lindner Center for Autism.

"It was always in the plan for the Thompson Center to have a director with clinical training in autism as well as management experience," Poehling said. 

Poehling, whose new title is assistant vice chancellor for health sciences, said he will  remain involved with the autism effort.

"I will be available to Dr. Bregman to offer support," Poehling said. He will also work on the Thompson Foundation Board, a development board separate from the university, which handles fundraising for the center, he said.

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