KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Sherwood Autism Center broke ground Wednesday on a $3.5 million renovation and expansion project.
The 10,000 square foot expansion will take place at their 8030 Ward Parkway Plaza campus. Currently, the center is dedicated to helping children with Autism, but when renovations are finished, it'll combine adult programs as well. Right now adults find help at Sherwood's adult facility near 79th Street and Prospect Avenue. This location will close once the expansion wraps up at the Ward parkway Plaza campus.
"This expansion is going to allow us to serve more adults from the autism community," Laci Maltbie, CEO of Sherwood Autism Center, said. "It is going to allow us to provide them with training spaces to give them pre-vocational skills so they can get a job."
Sherwood Autism Center's mission is to empower children and adults with autism and related disabilities to maximize their potential in family and community life.
"One thing about autism is it affects 1 in 59 now and it lasts a lifetime, they have a normal lifespan," Maltbie said. "We have to plan for them in adulthood. One of the things we do is job exposure through volunteerism, different types of assessments to really figure out what their niche is going to be. All of our folks have interests of their own and strengths that are unique for them, so we want to make sure we find them a position that really enhances that."
With the expansion, Sherwood Autism Center hopes to serve an additional 150 adults with autism or related disabilities.
"I think the biggest message for people to receive during Autism Awareness Month is their abilities don't always appear the way they do," Maltbie said. "We have folks that are able to read and write and contribute even if they can't communicate like we do. So just to become an inclusive community in KC where we are embracing everyone."
Sherwood was founded in 1974 to provide specialized education and support services for children with autism in the Kansas City area.