Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Held for Sikeston Regional Campus Autism Center

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Southeast’s new Autism Center for Diagnosis and Treatment held its ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, March 7 at the regional campus in Sikeston.

“We have an extensive waitlist and up to 70 percent of our waitlist lives in Sikeston or further from our main campus center and this will give us an opportunity to increase our ability to give people access to diagnostics and treatment services,” director of Autism Center Renee Patrick said.

The ribbon cutting ceremony began at 5 p.m. with Southeast president Carlos Vargas speaking about how pleased he is to be opening the center in Sikeston and went on to recognize members of the university and community.

The facility was used as the Child Development Center before but closed June 29 due to significant budget cuts facing the university. The Autism Center began expanding services to residents in the Missouri Bootheel beginning Jan. 22.

Right now the center is offering three days a week of services from noon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. They provide early intensive care for children ages 2-5 for the Building Blocks program. This program is designed for children who have a certain need for behavioral analytic programming. Other programs offered include Speech-Language Pathology and diagnostic evaluations for individuals who need diagnostic clarification of Autism Spectrum disorder.

Patrick said they hope to expand that so they are having more days of services and more children receiving services.

Autism Center staff are currently serving both the Cape Girardeau and Sikeston locations. Members of the staff include Registered Behavior Technicians and a speech pathology assistant under the supervision of a speech-language pathologist.

“We have vacancies because we will need more help implementing everything and we are looking very much forward to it,” Patrick said.

Tours were given in the new facility and refreshments were offered inside.