SIKESTON, Missouri (KFVS) – American Legion Riders in Qulin donated $ 1,000 to the Autism Center at Southeast Missouri State University.
The donation will help support the Autism Diagnosis and Treatment Center at the Sikeston campus in the southeast.
Deputy Director Dave Beutel represented the Qulin Legion Riders by presenting the check as part of their third annual Autism Race.
The event was hosted by Steve “Jigsaw” Launer in honor of his grandson, Kendrick Meppiel, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and received early intervention services while he was a young boy in Cape Girardeau.
Dr. Renee Patrick, Director of the Southeast Autism Center, and Dr. Joe Pujol, Dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Studies, accepted the donation on behalf of the University.
“We are honored and grateful for the continued support of the Legion Riders,” said Dr. Patrick. “The funds will be used to help children with autism access services or supports based on their individual needs.”
Brittany Meppiel said that due to the support of her family, especially Kendrick’s grandfather, “Jigsaw”, and services like those available at the South East Autism Center, her son was able to flourish.
“Jigsaw” was my rock in the first few years after Kendrick’s diagnosis – and despite our family’s health care provider giving Kendrick a poor prognosis when he was young, he is currently enrolled in classes. of accelerated and advanced math, ”she said.
Jigsaw passed away shortly after the Rider’s 2021 autism run, but other family members at the donation ceremony included Nick Meppiel, Kendrick Kurtis’ brother, sister Caitlynn, grandmother Jouanna Meppiel and cousin Arizona Freeman.
The Legion Runners’ donation will help support the Centre’s programming and services.
The Sikeston location helps meet a growing demand in the region for autism services without having to travel to Cape Girardeau, where the University’s main autism center is located at 611 N. Fountain Street.
Sikeston Institution provides intensive early intervention services through the Centre’s Building Blocks program for young children ages 2 to 5 who have a significant need for Applied Behavior Analysis programs; Speech therapy using a push-in service for language acquisition via users of motor planning communication devices; and diagnostic evaluations for those seeking diagnostic clarification of autism spectrum disorders.
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