Guidestar StatementJoshua Center for Neurological Disorders changing lives since 1996
The Joshua Center for Neurological Disorders provides programs designed to improve the lives of individuals and families living with Tourette Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder through clinical, education, social and research programs.
The Joshua Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing counseling, educational and social support for children and families affected by these disorders. The Joshua Center directly serves hundreds of children, families, and education and medical professionals in and out of the Greater Kansas City Community and indirectly serves thousands through our new website https://www.joshuacenter.com.
Our therapists are often sought out by other medical, educational, and mental health professionals for help. We receive, on average, twenty new calls a day from parents and community professionals requesting our services, including all the hospitals, pediatricians, and school professionals. With 1 in 150 children diagnosed on the autism spectrum it is critical the Joshua Center continue to be a viable operation. There is a desperate need for the types of programs and services we provide.
The Joshua Center participates in the Camps For Kids project with foundations in Kansas City committed to providing matching grants to camp programs that benefit not only our annual ACA accredited camp program for children with neurological disorders at the Rotary Club Youth Camp, but many others who provide programs for various disabilities. After providing social skills classes at the Joshua Center for five years, at the request of parents, teachers and mental health professionals, in 2011 we began identifying local churches in and outside our community to offer additional social skills classes. This has been a very successful program.
In 1987 Becky Ottinger became involved with the local chapter of the Tourette Syndrome Association when her son, Josh Oliver, was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. There she met Orrilla Clough, mother of three daughters with TS. At that time the chapter held support group meetings every other month and Becky remembers walking away from the first meeting wondering how she was to survive for two months without talking to someone who “understood”.
Not knowing then how to help Josh in the school system with his misunderstood neurological symptoms she became very frustrated. As the years went by she learned a lot about the disorders and realized more needed to be done to help the hundreds of children and their families living with TS and the associated disorders of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She didn’t want other children and families to have to go through what she, Sarah and Josh did as a family.
In 1992 Becky quit teaching so that she could spend more time helping these kids. It became her vision that the doctor, counselor and educator needed to be all in one place for these children to be successful. On November 5, 1996 the Joshua Child and Family Development Center Joshua Center (later changing name to Neurological Disorders), a non-profit organization, was opened. It is named after Becky’s son, Josh Oliver.
While teaching at an Environmental Science Magnet, Becky took her second graders on an overnight trip to the Rotary Club Youth Camp. While talking to Bob Walden, the Camp Superintendent, she learned that she could have a camp for kids with TS, since it was a disability. So, Becky designed a camp for the kids. We now have two camps. Each year 120 campers with a diagnosis of TS, Asperger’s and OCD attend a resident camp program. It continues to be one of the most successful programs we have developed. In 2003 the camp program received accreditation from the American Camping Association.
The Joshua Center sponsors annual conferences for education professionals and parents. Publications authored by Joshua Center Founders Becky Ottinger and Jack Southwick, The books Tictionary (a workbook for parents and professionals addressing accommodations), and Individual Home Plan and Individual Classroom Plan, workbooks for parents, educators and mental health professionals that address behaviors) are available along with others on the website. All proceeds benefit the Joshua Center.
With a dramatic increase in the demands for our services our most pressing need is additional staff support. Currently we have two full time and one part time staff members.
The Joshua Center is the only clinic in the country providing these unique services and programs for children with these neurological disorders. It was my vision that the doctor, counselor and teacher needed to be all in one place for the child to reach the ultimate success. Children whose parents consistently utilized our services and programs over the years are more successful as young adults. Far too many young adults with these disorders are foundering because they did not then have the support they so desperately needed while growing up. In 2011 we started our Young Adult program where young adults ages 18-23 can receive support with job coaching, counseling, and life skills. These individuals want to be successful, but they do not know where to start. It is imperative that we provide support to parents through these difficult years and that we provide programs for their young adult children so they may one day be independent, contributing adults.
Board Chair Statement
I am constantly amazed at the passion of the people who serve in this grassroots organization. The Staff and volunteers at Joshua Center for Neurological Disorders have a passion for their mission of helping kids. The Board is a mixture of parents and professionals, with many of the parents having children with a neurological disorder. This diverse board of parents, medical personnel and community volunteers can best address the operation of the Center. Our Executive Director is a true visionary and does a great deal to energize the parents involved. One challenge we face is to get even more parents involved. Our overriding thought in the management of the organization is “what is good for the kids.” Our Annual Pork-Out Event raises the significant portion of our operating budget. The Joshua Center for Neurological Disorders excels by the fact that it is ONE central place where counseling and medical care is available for the children we serve. This interdisciplinary approach is necessary for our children because each of their situations is extremely unique. Counseling and support for the children and their parents are important at our Center. The children we serve are able to obtain counseling, social and educational support at one central location, which brings about the best collaboration of care for them. The Social Skills classes are expanding to churches in the metro area. We expect to double the locations each year. The week-long Camp we sponsor in the summer provides a safe environment for children who often have a hard time fitting in with traditional, mainstream activities. At Camp we serve 120 kids at two camps. The ACA accredited Camp Program is well-run and fun for the kids and volunteers alike. Its success can be measured in that we now have former campers returning as camp counselors.
For additional information, visit the Guidestar Organization Website