Pediatric Place POPS With Color For Autism & Neurodevelopment Opening


Confetti fireworks and a pink, teal and white balloon arch marked the opening of the new Autism and Neurodevelopment Center on June 21. More than 70 people gathered under a large canopy in the parking lot for the opening last Friday. Pediatric Place staff in teal polo shirts and yellow T-shirts with the teal and pink logo added more color to the event.
The Pediatric Place offers speech, physical and occupational (small motor skills) plus a variety of multidisciplinary developmental therapies to children. The new center, constructed next to the existing one at 210 S. 2nd., expands the Pediatric Place facilities for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) for children with autism, who have difficulties with social interaction, communications and sensory processing.
“It’s not grandma’s Safeway store any more,” said Mayor Carla Moberly, referring to the original use of the adjoining building on the site.
Moberly, one of the guest speakers at the opening ceremony, commended Jeff Klassen and Klassen Construction of Clinton for the amazing job they did on the building. She also commended Pediatric Place founders Carmen Rathert and Jessi Frencken for their dedication and vision in growing the Pediatric Place from a small office on Ohio Street with three therapists to three buildings, one in Knob Noster, and 65 employees in nine years.
With 30,000 square feet of space, the Pediatric Place is one of the largest facilities in the state dedicated to therapy services for children.
With the Pediatric Place, Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare, Compass Health and the new Bourland Radiation Oncology Center, Clinton is becoming a real leader in healthcare in Missouri, the Mayor said.
Brittany Pickens, Pediatric Place marketing manager, also introduced Melanie Stinnett, state representative for District 33, a speech pathologist in Springfield who is a friend of Carmen’s. Jim Kalberloh, state representative for District 126, and Mike Ussery, representing U.S. Senator Eric Schmitt, both noted what an asset the Pediatric Place is to Clinton and the communities around it.
“It’s so important to families in rural communities, to give them options locally,” Ussery said.
Jessi Frencken also thanked Klassen Construction for helping the Pediatric Place reach this significant milestone. Carmen Rathert said the Pediatric Place has impacted thousands of children in realizing its motto, “Collaborative Care for Successful Lives.”
Carmen and Jessi cut the ribbon to officially open the new facility as confetti fireworks shot colorful bits of paper into the air. Guests then went under the balloon arch through the door, which will be the main entrance to the Pediatric Place, to tour the new building. Inside is a reception area and a hallway of individual therapy rooms, which will connect with a hallway to the existing building to the south. Across the back of the building is a 3,000 square-foot gymnasium.
An outdoor playground is planned for behind the gym, staff said. On the north side of the building are two preschool classroom settings, offices, a conference room and a large kitchen and dining area for eating and swallowing therapies. The tour ended in the staff room, where pink punch and iced cookies were served.
Brooke Allen of Springfield has been hired to be the ABA director. Brooke said that the new building will welcome 14 kids on July 15. All will receive one-on-one therapy, she said, ranging from one hour a week to 34 hours a week.
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