advertisement

MU autism center opens after $5 million renovation

Friday, December 3, 2010 | 3:54 p.m. CST; updated 8:54 p.m. CST, Friday, December 3, 2010
Gov. Jay Nixon and William Thompson cut the ribbon to signify the opening of the Thompson Center on Friday. The 26,000-square-foot facility specializes in treating and researching autism and is equipped with more cameras and space to better help the visitors. "The technology is overwhelming, but it has been very convenient for the providers and families," Clinical Assistant Professor Elena Drewel said.

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misidentified William Thompson as MU Chancellor Brady Deaton.

COLUMBIA — The MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders introduced its new facility to the public Friday.

Located at 205 Portland Drive, the center's new home boasts 26,000 square feet — almost twice the size of the old facility. Added therapy and examination will increase the visitor capacity from 2,000 to 9,000 people.

MoreStory


Related Media

Related Articles

Patients will also have greater access to doctors through high-tech innovations such as Telehealth units.

Gov. Jay Nixon applauded the $5 million renovation that began in February.

"For five years the Thompson Center has been changing lives," Nixon said. "Today we’re making a new chapter."

William Thompson*, founder of the Thompson Foundation for Autism and the center's namesake, credited the state-of-the-art facility to a collaboration of state and federal governments, as well as MU and the Thompson Foundation. 

"There is only one word that described my feeling when I walked into the building," Thompson said. "Wow."

The new center also welcomed its new executive director, Joel Bregman, who has a medical degree from Yale and has done extensive research on autism. 

The Thompson Center treats patients with autism ages 3 to 22. Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder, can be diagnosed as early as 18 months, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The median age of children diagnosed with autism is 5.5 years old for white children and 8.2 years old for black children, according to Missouri Autism Guidelines Initiatives.

The grand opening came just before a recently passed state-wide autism mandate takes effect Jan. 1.

Under the new law, Missouri became the 21st state where insurance companies must pay up to $40,000 annually for therapies for children diagnosed with autism. The coverage applies to families that receive group insurance through their employers, not those with individual health insurance. 

One in every 110 children in America have autism, according to the Center for Disease Control. Recent data collected by the center also showed boys are four to five times more likely to have autism than girls.


Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements