Arc of the Ozarks’ New Autism and Neurodevelopmental Center

Arc of the Ozarks’ new Autism and Neurodevelopmental Center strives to provide support and resources for those affected in the community.

by Jo Jolliff

Jul 2024

Dr. John and two patients at Autism and Neurodevelopmental Center.
Photo by Brandon AlmsDr. John and two patients of the new Autism and Neurodevelopmental Center. Purchase Photo

Arc of the Ozarks offers diagnostics and personalized therapy with a range of services at their new Autism and Neurodevelopmental Center (2864 S. Nettleton Ave., Springfield; 417-605-7100). The center officially opened at the beginning of January but has been more than 10 years in the making with the goal of becoming a state-of-the-art treatment center focused on being a place of hope and compassion for families and providing resources to individuals with autism to reach their full potential. The new center serves as a one-stop spot offering diagnostic evaluation, counseling, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, psychiatric services, medication management, applied behavior analysis, pediatric care, parent-child interaction therapy, feeding therapy and much more.

Arc of the Ozarks President Mike Powers and Vice President Tim Dygon have been working toward this with the Department of Mental Health, Department of Family Services and state legislature. “It's been a goal of Mike Powers’ for many, many years,” says Medical Director Dr. Kyle John. “He has been in this work for most of his professional life, if not all of it. I get no credit—our president and vice president have been leading the Arc toward this... They’ve put together a great team.”

Previously a child psychiatrist and a former 417 Magazine Top Doctor, Dr. John left his position as Clinical Vice President of Behavioral Health and Medical Director of Behavioral Health East Region for Mercy Health System to help start the new center. He joined Arc of the Ozarks due to his passion for their mission after seeing the benefits early intervention had on his nephew’s autism diagnosis. Early intervention is the key to the long-term success of children with autism for their education and social development all the way to entering the workforce and adulthood. In order for children to receive an early diagnosis and intervention, Dr. John says the team at Arc of the Ozarks saw a need in the community to help prevent families from sitting on a waiting list for over one to two years or traveling out of state for services. This early intervention can help make a huge difference in the lives of children impacted by autism, as well as their families. “We believe so deeply in providing good service from the very beginning and having our family advocates involved,” Dr. John says.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening all 18- to 24-month-old children for autism spectrum disorder and other developmental delays. To accomplish this throughout the community, Arc of the Ozarks has emphasized growing in relationship with Mercy, Missouri State, CoxHealth, Jordan Valley Community Health Center and all other organizations in the area that have a role in taking care of people with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. “We want to work with them in serving this population,” he says. “We’re grateful to have lots of community partners that are also doing great, great things to take care of this population. We can't always accommodate all of our families right here in our building, but if we can't provide the service the child needs then we'll get them connected with somebody in the community who can.”

Families in the community had previously spent years on waiting lists to be seen but upon its opening, the center was able to immediately begin the patient care process, despite having a waiting list of over 300 families. They start the process as soon as patients are referred and are able to provide all care in one central location. “Most families were used to going multiple places,” Dr. John explains. “They have a doctor in one place and a therapist in another and maybe a speech or occupational therapist in another on top of other services, but we can accommodate all of their needs with our team right here.”

After opening, the team set a goal of completing 500 evaluations in its first year and already, a little over halfway through the year, it’s looking like they may be able to surpass that as they continue to grow the program.

The Arc of the Ozarks’ new center accepts referrals from families and providers on their website, To help support the Arc of the Ozarks in their mission to serve the community’s urgent need for access to comprehensive services and intervention and ensure that individuals with autism and neurodevelopmental disabilities receive the best quality of care, you can donate online.