JOPLIN, MO.--- Freeman's Bill and Virginia Leffen Center for Autism turns 5 today. Organizers celebrated with testimonials from families helped by the autism center, presentations by board members, and of course plenty of cake. Children from the center joined in the festivities with a torch bearing, symbolizing how far students have come since the center's inception in 2007.CEO Paula Baker says tripling the size of the staff and adding several new programs has been nice, but the centers biggest achievement is reflected through the kids they serve.
"We have heard children speak their first words while in our program, and have their first meaningful interaction with mom or dad or sibling, so the most significant accomplishment we have made is we have helped to unlock the mystery of autism," states Paula Baker, President & CEO of Freeman.
The autism center has served more than 315 children over the past 5 years.