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Center for Autism gets $3 million donation and a new home - KOAM TV 7

Center for Autism gets $3 million donation and a new home

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Freeman Health System gets a $3 million donation to rebuild its Center for Autism destroyed by the Joplin tornado.

Former Commerce Bank President Bill Leffen and his wife Virginia are donating the funds.

Freeman President Paula Baker announced the center will be named after the Leffen's and will be located at 2808 Picher, where a substance abuse facility once stood.

Students of the autism center greeted and thanked the Leffens today.

Baker says the donation will allow the center to have all facilities under one roof and for it to expand offerings.

"We began with preschool, added an accredited diagnostic center, in home services, now we want to roll out adult services," says Freeman President and CEO Paula Baker.  "Lots of adults with autism who didn't have the benefit of early intervention program - so now we want to - we're really excited about opportunity for working with them."

The new center will include a kitchen where adults can learn to cook, a theatre and a community experience area.

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