The Autism Center of North Mississippi provides comprehensive educational and behavioral services to families and schools to support students with autism spectrum disorders, developmental delays, learning difficulties and challenging behaviors. Our services include parent consultations, detailed skills assessments, one-on-one Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, in-school services and parent training.
We strive to:
- Provide clinic-based parents/guardians with training and support needed to effectively facilitate childhood learning
- Advance educational services available for students with learning and/or behavioral issues
- Promote dissemination of effective educational technologies via highly specialized training and consultation
- Facilitate the development and refinement of effective parent and educational services through systematic evaluation of educational innovations
Before the Autism Center of North Mississippi opened in 2009, families affected by ASD were forced to travel to Birmingham, Atlanta and Memphis. The travel, coupled with $100-per-hour therapy, restricted access for families with limited resources.
Now, children receive one-on-one behavioral treatment in Tupelo, and are only charged according to what they can afford—all in an effort to help them connect to others in their classrooms, families and communities.
The Autism Center’s staff of Board Certified Behavioral Analysts provide comprehensive educational and behavioral services, along with family and school support, to children with ASD. The Autism Center also provides teacher trainings to improve quality of education for children with ASD, while mitigating the impact on the rest of the classroom.
The approach we use at the Autism Center of North Mississippi is clinically demonstrated to reverse the effects of autism in 20-30 percent of children. It will make a significant impact on about 50 percent, and it will have mild benefits for the rest. Our goal is to give each child a fighting chance at beating the often devastating effects of autism and living a happy and productive life. In doing so, we not only improve the lives of these children and their families, but we benefit the entire community.
So far, every child who has come through our doors has progressed in a myriad of ways—learning how to communicate, playing appropriately with toys, making friends and gaining the skills necessary for regular education in the school setting.
Autism Center patients are billed according to a sliding scale, based on their family income. The services cost the center $308 per week, but the maximum fee billed to a family is $150 for all weekly services.
While some insurance companies do cover ABA Therapy (Acclaim, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Optum, and Tricare*), most Mississippi insurance companies, including Medicaid, don’t cover the services offered by the Autism Center. This necessitates scholarship funds, which are maintained through donors like HisWay, Toyota, Walmart, and Weyerhaeuser. The scholarships, applied according to ability-to-pay, allow all children access to the behavioral therapy they desperately need. Due to the insurance gap, only 11 percent of children who receive Autism Center services can afford to pay the already-discounted $150 weekly rate. Inversely, about 15% of the children rely completely on scholarship funding.
We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit agency, so all our funds go directly back to supporting our mission. We earn half our funds from sliding scale fees and school contracts; the rest comes from fundraisers, donations and grants. We have been blessed with overwhelming community support, and for that we are immensely thankful.
Learn more about how you can support our mission.
We believe it’s not just the responsibility of the parents – or our staff – to educate these children. We believe it’s a community issue. The lifetime cost to society for each person with untreated autism is $3.2 million—mostly due to lost wages and adult care. With an estimated 1,500 autistic children in Northeast Mississippi, it’ll cost the region more than $4 billion over the next 80 years—unless we do something to treat it now.
When addressed early and regularly treated with behavioral therapy, children with ASD can develop into some of the smartest and most focused children and adults, forming meaningful relationships with those around them.
*Insurance coverage depends on the beneficiary’s plan.