Joplin Tornado Destroys More Than Buildings
On May 22, 2011 an EF5 tornado, jokingly referred to in the movie Twister as "the finger of God," tore through Joplin, Missouri. Almost 30% of the city was destroyed, including one of the two main hospitals.
The Ozark Center for Autism was one of the many homes, businesses, and health facilities destroyed during the storm. Before 2007, when the Center was established, services for families trying to find treatment options for autism were few and far between. The Ozark Center changed all that, and in just a short time, built a reputation for offering the 'gold standard' in the treatment of autism.
A family was so impressed that they relocated to Joplin, Missouri from as far away as Oregon in order to sign up for treatment which includes intensive, hands-on therapy for children as early as preschool. The Ozark Center for Autism is the sister site of The Cleveland Clinic. Joplin was the first community to be sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic and use the applied behavioral analysis or ABA treatment for Autism.
Even though the Center is struggling to maintain treatment for its patients, what keeps everyone going is the outpouring of support and donations from various organizations and individuals. Freeman Hospital stated it is committed to rebuilding, not only the center, but also psychiatric and substance abuse clinics that were located in the same building and served more than 13,000 patients.
Right now the temporary office is located in a local indoor skate park on the outskirts of Joplin and conducting home visits. The Ozark Center for Autism recently added a diagnostic team in order to help evaluate more than 50 families on their waiting list.
To make a donation, visit the Ozark Center for Autism website.
Freeman Hospital has listed important information and updates on it's website.