Autism Resource Center opens on KU's Edwards Campus

March 26, 2009

Mary-Margaret Simpson, Life Span Institute, 785-864-0697
Karen Henry, Life Span Institute, 785-864-0756

LAWRENCE - The Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training will open its new Autism Resource Center at the University of Kansas' Edwards Campus on March 24, launching a free service for families and professionals looking for practical information about autism spectrum disorders.

"The K-CART Edwards Campus location is a gateway for our autism team to work with the Kansas City community in a state-of-the-art facility for training and outreach," said Debra Kamps, director of the center and autism researcher.

An open house to introduce the center to the public will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in Regnier Hall on the Edwards Campus, 12600 Quivira Road in Overland Park. In addition to tours, representatives from several autism advocacy and service organizations will be on hand. The highlight of the event will be a 5:30 p.m. program featuring Peter Bell, the vice president for programs and services at Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism advocacy organization.

"The vision and commitment of the University of Kansas to establish both an autism-specific resource center and a research and training program is remarkable and truly reflective of KU's national reputation," said Kirsten Sneid, a Johnson County parent and area autism advocate.

The Autism Resource Center, 270 Regnier Hall, is both a resource and a referral center. Staff will assist visitors with identifying and accessing community autism services and in selecting materials to check out from the center, which will operate as a lending library. The center will be open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. In addition, K-CART will sponsor guest lectures, workshops and other learning opportunities to respond to the needs of the community.

Bob Clark, vice chancellor of the Edwards Campus, donated the facilities for K-CART and the Autism Resource Center at the Edwards Campus.

"We are grateful to have the center opening on the Edwards Campus, providing those who will benefit most - our Johnson County families - with its services and activities," said Clark.

Autism Resource Center materials were purchased from gifts to KU Endowment from the Autism Society of the Heartland, the 2008 senior class at Blue Valley North High School in Leawood and two fundraising events - Caeden's Cause in July and the Kansas City Young Matrons Ball in January. The materials are designed for parents and siblings of children with autism as well as teenagers and adults who themselves have autism or related disorders, such as Asperger's syndrome. Teachers and service providers can find practical strategies for teaching communication and functional skills.

Interior design students and faculty at Johnson County Community College volunteered their time to design the space, furnishings and other visual elements of the family-friendly center.

A multi-campus, multidisciplinary initiative, K-CART supports research and training on the causes, nature and management of autism spectrum disorders. It is one of 13 centers affiliated with KU's Life Span Institute, which includes more than 140 programs and projects located on the Lawrence and medical center campuses and in Kansas City, Kan., and Parsons.

For more information, visit or call (913) 897-8471.