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Thompson Center Therapy Clinic grand opening leaves impact on many

The brand new clinical space at the Thompson Center Therapy Clinic has officially opened. Visitors were welcome to tour the new facility for the grand opening Thursday, which also featured a ribbon cutting and refreshments.

Through its collaborative research, training, and outreach programs, the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment at MU focuses on individuals with autism and other developmental difficulties.

The primary objective of the Thompson Center is to assist families from the point of first contact, by providing them with access to services in the community, along with routine follow-up care over time.

Executive director of the Thompson Center Stephen Sheinkopf credits the new facility for the future innovations that will better patient experiences.

"It is going to be a space that is going to allow us to really double the impact for the patients we currently serve here at the center. [The specialized layout] is designed to allow us to grow our existing services and to innovate as well," Sheinkopf said.

Anna Compain-Romero and her son Danny Romero-Compain is one example of a family seeking the center's services. Danny was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. Compain-Romero moved to Columbia more than 16 years ago, largely as a result of the Thompson Center.

Danny came to the Thompson Center for occupational therapy to learn skills such as brushing his teeth, washing his hands, getting himself dressed, and waiting his turn.

Compain-Romero believes the help and support from the Thompson Center truly changed her family's life for the better.

"Today, in this wonderful building I recognize that this is twice or three times the size of when we first started receiving services here at the Thompson Center," Compain-Romero said. "I reflect on all the ways that the Thompson Center has contributed to and improved my family's quality of life."

The previous main clinical facility had four therapy rooms and one therapy classroom. The new clinical facility features 14 therapy rooms, two therapy classrooms, two group therapy rooms, and one play therapy gym.

"The expansion of this new services area at the Thompson Center is going to help, not just the immediate Columbia area, Boone county area," Compain-Romero said. "It is going to be a swath of counties here in mid-Missouri."

The new therapy center is located at 200 N. Keene Street.

KOMU 8 is a full-powered NBC affiliate operating as an independent commercial property. As such, KOMU 8 is the only major network affiliate in the United States that acts as a university-owned commercial television station utilizing its newsroom as a working lab for students.