The Platte City Area Chamber of Commerce and Platte City recognized the opening of Sadowsky Autism Services with a ribbon cutting last month.
The business is operated by Mark and Cassie Sadowsky — who reside in Weatherby Lake — and the couple opened the Platte City location at 2901 Williamsburg Terrace, Suite F, on May 15.
“Cassie is the vision and these are the muscle,” said Mark Sadowsky, the director of operations, while pointing to the staff during the ribbon cutting. “We work home services as well. So we are out driving around in our community working with children and try to improve their situations. Without them, it wouldn’t happen.
“For almost 25 years, every single day Cassie has been working with family and kids. We are happy for this center to share it with even more people. If you are a parent or a brother or a child with autism, she is the person you want to see.”
Platte City mayor Frank Offutt presented a proclamation for the business before a ribbon cutting ceremony was held. The ceremony allowed those in attendance to see parts of the building that isn’t usually seen by the general public due to privacy concerns.
The couple is a military family that had seen different parts of the world. Mark was in the Marines for 20 years and retired as a lieutenant colonel. Cassie is from New Jersey and Mark hailed from New York City, but the two met in college in North Carolina.
While he stationed in Afghanistan, Cassie flew to Missouri to look for a house and found one. After his fourth combat deployment, the couple moved to Missouri in 2014.
The two opened their business in 2010 and held private autism service practices in Virginia and then North Carolina before moving to Missouri.
Cassie Sadowsky, who obtained her master’s degree at Wisconsin, has been in the applied behavior analysis field before the ‘field’ was even considered.
Autism was first described in 1943 but it wasn’t until 1987 when the criteria for diagnosis were reviewed. Scientific America stated in that year, the autism rate was 1 in 1,400.
Now, it is 1 in 68 nationally and some states have even higher rates, like New Jersey where it is 1 in 41.
The Sadowskys opened an administrative office for the company in Parkville in 2017 and their landlord gave them a deal on the Platte City location they couldn’t refuse, Mark Sadowsky said.
“The proximity to the military base and the majority of the school districts were very appealing,” Mark Sadowsky said. “Kids will be able to be bussed straight to the center after school and can stay until their parents get off work.”
There are currently 50 part-time/full-time employees between the two buildings that serve 100 clients. The age range could vary from 2 to 21 years old, but most of the clients at the Platte City area are between 3 and 10 years old.
The company offers services for support for children in school-based program, early intervention program supervision and instruction and behavioral assessment/management. The Platte City location offers one-on-one ABA therapies as well as social skills development.
There are about a dozen clients in the Platte City building, but Mark Sadowsky stated he expected that number to rise when school resumes. Most of the services provided by the company are home-based, but the need for a center was something the couple saw.
Most of the clients are referrals from insurance companies — and Medicaid — with services provided in Missouri and Kansas, which includes two military bases in each state.
During the ceremony, one of the Platte City clients was there and took part in the ribbon cutting.
“Having the chance to work with clients and their families and seeing positive change is the best part of the job,” Mark Sadowsky said. “Some of our outcomes surpassed expectations and changed lives in a meaningful way. Many of these children don’t speak, don’t make eye contact, don’t respond to their name or are generally functioning in a world of their own. Seeing a child re-enter a normalized classroom, graduate from college or tell their parents that they love them … and knowing where they started off is enough to get you hooked.”