Ben Thatcher Director of Autism Programs


Ben Thatcher

Director of Autism Programs

Kelley Wehmeier Assistant Director of CounterPoint


Kelley Wehmeier

Assistant Director of CounterPoint

Did you know? 

Autism is a developmental disability characterized by difficulties with social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, repetitive behaviors or narrow or obsessive interests. Asperger Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder all fall under the broad category of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

About 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

ASD is almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189).

 

COUNTERPOINT AUTISM 

As researchers are frantically searching for answers to the questions that autism presents, we continue to grapple with the challenges it brings. What happens to those children and their families as they become older and the support systems that worked really well for them as a child no longer fit their needs as an adult? The challenges they face as they move into their teen and young adult years are a relatively new frontier.

 To help address our needs locally, we have developed CounterPoint, a program with an autism focus. Some of the core components of the program are specialized staff training specific to autism such as communication, sensory, safety, behavior alternatives, physiological concerns and common deficiencies related to Autism Spectrum Disorders. In addition, staff learn appropriate social interaction focused on building meaningful relationships and daily adaptive skills.

Counterpoint services 

Residential Supports

Our Residential Supports Program offers supervised living for adolescents and adults to assist them in living as independently as possible while participating in activities of interest, maintaining valued relationships and being active and respected members of the community. Residential Supports are provided in leased homes in local neighborhoods and communities and offer 24-hour staff supervision to help the individual implement their goals and monitor progress. Core components of our Residential Program are insuring needs are met, promoting self-determination and respecting choices in the least restrictive environment possible. 

Therapeutic Recreation Program 

CounterPoint's Therapeutic Recreation Day Program began in October of 2011 in response to the needs of individuals with ASD who have finished school and are not working. The program is intentionally small so individuals can receive the attention they need and work one-to-one with staff towards specific therapeutic outcomes. The program consists of community outings, educational activities, therapeutic recreation and life skills training. The program is comprised of groups. One group participates in a community activity or outing while the other group works towards goals such as increasing verbal and nonverbal communication, fine motor precision or improving learned skills such as cleaning, cooking or hygiene. Volunteering and pre-employment work maturity classes help prepare individuals for employment opportunities. Occasionally, the groups will plan special trips and attend events together. 

Saturday Respite

For families of children with autism, daily living demands constant planning and juggling. High healthcare costs can leave few funds for daycare or respite opportunities. Many parents, knowing their child's challenges intimately, struggle with the idea of leaving their children with strangers. The Saturday Respite Program is funded through the Southwest Missouri Autism Project which helps chosen agencies provide needed training and support to families. The goal of the Respite Program is to provide families whose children have autism a break one Saturday per month by offering supervised respite care. The program is based on a socio-recreational model that is consistent and structural. The program gives choices while teaching individuals how to respond to situations and persons in a natural environment. Saturday Respite is offered in both Springfield and Monett. Individuals must be eligible and receiving services through the Missouri Department of Mental Health Developmental Disabilities Division in order to participate. 

For more information on Autism, visit these websites: