Autism Works, Inc.
915 East County Road H
Liberty MO 64068
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 792-0019
Fax 816- 792-0019
Mission Statement
Autism Works serves individuals and families who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders.  We believe great resources, information and support should be available to everyone in the community. Our organization works with families and the local community to increase autism awareness and develop support for families dealing with the everyday struggles of living on the spectrum.
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Dessarey Klarlund
Board Chair Mr. Jim Koger
Board Chair Company Affiliation H&R Block
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2010
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer
Autism Works is always looking for community partners and volunteers for our summer programs, game nights and girls night out programs. If you would like to volunteer your time or talents please contact Dessarey Klarlund at dklarlund@autism-works.org
 
Donations can be made securely on our website at www.autism-works.org or mailed to 915 East County Rd H Liberty MO 64068
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

 Breakdown
Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Statements
Mission Statement Autism Works serves individuals and families who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders.  We believe great resources, information and support should be available to everyone in the community. Our organization works with families and the local community to increase autism awareness and develop support for families dealing with the everyday struggles of living on the spectrum.
Background Statement
 
Before Autism Works, there was a significant gap in autism services and support in the Northland, Clay County and rural counties outside of the Kansas City area. Autism Works was established in 2010 by a group of dedicated parents and volunteers who had the desire and passion to create a place for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families to belong. The goal was to provide new resources and support for children with ASD and their families in the Northland community and surrounding counties. It started with a few parents and teens meeting once a month for a social club and developed into a full time program serving all ages. Over the past five years the organization has grown tremendously and provided many new programs and support to the ASD community.
 
Impact Statement

Founded in 2010 in Liberty, Missouri, Autism Works serves individuals and families in the Northland affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. We believe great resources, information, and support should be available to everyone in the community, regardless of ability to pay.

To this end, we offer social skill classes for students K-12, living and cooking classes for transition-aged youth, game nights, support groups, and parent and caregiver workshops.

2017 Accomplishments: 

  •  Added two new social skills instructors to accommodate the Elementary programs.
  •  Hosted two annual community events- Trunk or Treat & Holiday Open House.
  •  Spread Autism Awareness in our community through local speaking engagements.
  •  Raised over $28,000 at our annual Evening on the Spectrum fundraiser in April.
 
2018 Goals: 
  • Increase our fundraising efforts to support our expanding programs.
  • Increase our marketing efforts to improve community recognition.
  • Continue to maintain our quality services while growing our programs to further meet the needs of our community.
Needs Statement
  • HP Office Jet Pro 9610 ink cartridges
  • Printer paper
  • Corporate/Individual sponsors for our annual fundraiser in April.
  • Marketing support- donation of marketing supplies or the donation of an individual’s expertise in creating marketing material.
Service Categories
Developmentally Disabled Services/Centers
Autism
Areas of Service
MO - Clay County
MO - Liberty
MO - Platte County
KS - Johnson County
MO - Jackson County
MO - Ray County
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement
When my grandson was diagnosed with Aspergers our family knew nothing about Autism. We started the journey to educate ourselves and find help for this wonderful little boy. To our surprise, there was nothing north of Kansas City to assist us. This inspired me to find a way to provide support for the Northland, so I founded Autism Works.
 
We have a diverse board representing many different professions, talents, and leaders in the Northland. Most have volunteered their time from the very beginning. They have a strong commitment to fulfill our mission and measure our progress and growth.
 
We  have hired highly qualified staff with autism expertise to work with our children. Our Executive Director, Dessarey Klarlund, energizes the parents with workshops, support groups and seeks out experienced professionals to enhance our organization. She is continually measuring, evaluating the impact of the ongoing classes, support groups and activities provided by Autism Works.
 
Our major challenge is funding to continue our growth and success with our mission.  We have seen an increase in financial support for low income families, in addition we keep our program fees very low. We currently have one major fundraiser annually that have doubled in size and attendance every year. In addition, we receive support from individual and corporate donations and have continue grant writing to meet our goals.
Programs
Description

We offer multifaceted programs, resources, and support groups to meet this critical need. Our social skills classes provide evidence-based, ongoing, affordable class options targeted toward children with high functioning Autism/Asperger’s. Four age-based groups serving grades K-12 meet weekly or biweekly for 1-2 hours. Our curriculum aids children in understand their own and others’ emotions, developing and improving skills to communicate feelings and recognize others’ feelings, knowing how to start and maintain interactions appropriately, and understanding others’ perspectives. ASD symptoms can range from mild to severe, but behavioral therapies, including social skill classes and recreational activities like those provided by Autism Works, can make a significant impact on a child’s health and sense of well-being and acceptance.

Program Budget $80,000.00
Category Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success Short-term impacts for children attending the social skills classes: increased eye contact, increased verbal communication with teacher, improved play and conversational skills, increased comfort in social settings, improved peer interaction, improved control of emotional expression, increased ability to negotiate conflict, reduced general anxiety, and increased asking and commenting skills.
Long-Term Success Social Skills class curriculum is evidence-based including, but not limited to, social skills training, video modeling, task analysis, visual supports, and cognitive behavioral intervention. Social skills classes strengthen focusing skills and attention span, increase self-expression, improve language, and build sensory integration skills. Classes also improve academic performance and prepare students for future employment. The program improves the lives of participants by allowing them to gain valuable life skills not innately learned by children with ASD. Children who attend the social skills classes will find new ways to communicate and express themselves, learn to better understand basic communication rules, better interpret social cues, and learn improved ways to interact with their peers, family and community.
Program Success Monitored By

Social Skills class curriculum is evidence-based including, but not limited to, social skills training, video modeling, task analysis, visual supports, and cognitive behavioral intervention. Social skills classes strengthen focusing skills and attention span, increase self-expression, improve language, and build sensory integration skills. Classes also improve academic performance and prepare students for future employment. Each child needs a different number of sessions to experience anticipated results, but students typically begin to show improvement in after 8-10 sessions. Program outcomes are: (1) Autism Works students will have improved social skills as demonstrated by a 95% attendance rate as tracked by AW attendance records. (2) 80% of Autism Works students will have strengthened communication skills as evidenced by parents and tracked by end of session parent surveys.

Examples of Program Success

I can never thank Autism Works enough for what you have done for my son.  I shudder to think what his high school years could have been like without Sabrina’s knowledge and guidance. He has learned and matured so much through your weekly classes.  He is applying to attend the Propel program at UMKC this fall and I don’t think he would have been able to accomplish this without you and your programs.  We are forever indebted.

Stephanie C
Description
STRIVE is designed to serve as an additional piece of preparation for high functioning individuals with Autism or Aspergers between the ages of 18-29. The focus of STRIVE is to encourage and foster independence in work skills, personal life, money management and social interaction among peers. STRIVE aims to ensure that individuals are prepared for the next step in their lives by teaching and practicing critical skills for independence in adulthood.
Program Budget $8,000.00
Category Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Population Served People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success The transition from school to adult life is an immense feat for anyone; this shift seems to be especially challenging for individuals with Autism, as well as their support systems. The STRIVE program has been designed to work with those individuals. Participants will identify their strengths and areas that need more support and training.
Long-Term Success Individuals who attend STRIVE classes will have additional exposure to job readiness, meal preparation, household responsibilities, appropriate hygiene and grooming skills as well as community involvement and leisure skills. Our goal is to help participants become independent in the home and community and learn basic skills to secure employment.
Program Success Monitored By Program success is monitored by the class instructor, participants and their caregivers. Initial assessments are done on each individual to identify areas of strengths to build on and areas that need additional support and training. Weekly goals and tasks are sent home with participants. Follow up and instruction are provided to individuals who need support accomplishing their individual goals.
Examples of Program Success
Young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders are less likely to continue their education or get a job after high school when compared to young adults with other disabilities. According to a recent study, only about 35 percent of young adults with ASD attended college and only about 55 percent had a job the first six years after high school. Many parents with children with ASD describe leaving high school as falling off of a cliff because of the lack of services for adults with ASD. Many programs focus only on children, however Autism does not disappear in adolescence. The majority of lifespan is spent in adulthood.
 
The STRIVE program will provide support and services to fill in this gap.
Description Y.A.A.S. is a community integration program for young adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The focus of this program is to help young adults ages 18-29 become more independent and an active member of their community by learning how to plan and participate in various community outings.
Program Budget $8,000.00
Category Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Population Served People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success

Due to the lack of community programs, many adults with ASD experience higher levels of loneliness and lower peer relationship quality than same aged peers.

This program addresses these issues by providing these individuals with an opportunity to become more engaged with others and become an active member of their communities.


Long-Term Success

The goal of this program is to teach young adults how to become more independent with planning their own social activities and feel less isolated by participating in events within their communities.

Program Success Monitored By AW leadership staff evaluate attendance data monthly and rely on participant and parent feedback. This data is used to make ongoing program adjustments to increase the effectiveness of programming.
Examples of Program Success Before the Young Adults Adventure Squad, many young adults with ASD were isolated in their homes with limited social interactions and opportunities to participate in community events. Through weekly activities and monthly planning meetings, these individuals have become more independent and self confident in their abilities to be an active member of their communities.
Description
Often parents and caregivers feel alone in their journey once their child is diagnosed with ASD. Support groups provide a place for parents to connect to others, share stories, celebrate successes and relieve stress. Our support groups are in a relaxed setting with an open format for conversation and sharing. Parents Night Out gives both parents the opportunity to enjoy an evening out with other parents. Dealing with the everyday stress of having a child on the spectrum leaves little time for parents to get out and relax. This group provides a relaxed atmosphere with friends and lets the parents enjoy an evening without the kids. 
 
In addition to the parent support group, Autism Works also provides parent training workshops on a wide variety of topics. 
Category Human Services, General/Other Parenting Education
Population Served People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success Parents and caregivers with support, experience reduced stress, improved advocacy skills, increased sense of belonging and acceptance in the community. There is a feeling of relief knowing you’re not alone and others share the same experiences.
Long-Term Success Our long term goal for the support groups is to increase attendance and eventually be able to provide free child care so more parents can attend who do not have reliable childcare options available.
Program Success Monitored By Since the introduction of our support group meetings, we have always asked parents for feedback and allowed them to express their ideas on what kind of support group they would feel most comfortable attending. Our support groups and workshops are regularly attended and have increased in numbers every year.
Examples of Program Success The parent support groups have helped us so much it's hard to put it into words.  For the first 18 years of our son’s life we had zero support from anyone else who even had a clue to what we were going through.  Once we moved here though we found a lot of other parents who truly got what we were going through.  The parent’s night out support group has been great for both of us; I think it’s really good for the dad's to get to talk to other dads who are dealing with a not always pleasant teen age boy with autism.  The mom's brunch support group has also been very supportive, I often feel like I'm helping a mom with a child who is younger since I've already been there done that and got the t shirt.  Overall these support groups are priceless to us; we've made several friends and know there's nothing we can say about our son that they can almost always relate to.- Christy Hunt 
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mrs. Dessarey Klarlund
Term Start Jan 2015
Experience Dessarey Klarlund started as a parent volunteer in 2010 and developed the teen club program for teens with ASD. Over the past several years she has developed many new programs to support the Autism community including; the social skills programs for grades K-12, young adults program for ages 18-29 and parent support groups. Dessarey was also the parent of a young adult with an Aspergers and has first hand knowledge about the needs of the Autism community.
Senior Staff
Title Director of Programs
Experience/Biography

Dessarey started as a parent volunteer in 2010 and created the teen club program for teens with ASD. Over the past two years she has developed many new programs including the social skill program and parent support groups.

Dessarey is a parent of a teen with an Aspergers and has a great passion for serving the ASD community. She also currently volunteers as a parent mentor for the Institute for Human Development / Sharing Our Strengths program.
Staff
Paid Full-Time Staff 1
Paid Contractors 6
Volunteers 50
Retention Rate 90%
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 5
Male 1
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Quarterly
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Semi-Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Collaborations

Autism Works independently leads this project but receives referrals from local physicians, clinics, and psychiatrists/psychologists in the Kansas City area.

Referrals through ongoing connections with local schools, clinics, physicians, and psychiatrists/psychologists in the area are critical to our success. We will continue to recruit children and families through referrals from all schools in the Liberty School District, in addition to referrals from other school districts in Kansas City and Clay and Platte counties.

We also facilitate a work experience project for Liberty High School Essential Skills Classroom student. Our partnership provides opportunities for vocational skill development and preparation for Job Olympics.

Affiliations
AffiliationYear
Nonprofit Connect of Greater Kansas City2015
Chamber of Commerce2017
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
CEO Comments
Since 2010, our organization has grown from one program serving only teens, to many programs serving ages 5 -29.
As we continue to move forward, we recognize the need to expand and develop new programs for our students as they grow older. In addition to our ongoing Social Skill Programs, Autism Works is also committed to researching and exploring new ideas for future plans to accommodate the needs of our young adults in our community. We look forward to continuing to serve families with loved ones diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Jim Koger
Company Affiliation H&R Block
Term Jan 2019 to Jan 2022
Email kogerjam@gmail.com
Board Co-Chair
Board Co-Chair Mrs. Jamie Krisman
Company Affiliation Helms Properties LLC
Term Jan 2019 to Jan 2022
Email jamiekrisman@gmail.com
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Mrs. Amy AbbiattiManor Thrift Store
Mr. Phillip BeierleHallmark
Mrs. Leslie ByramSpecial Needs Planning Center
Mrs. Christian CarrithersEARP Distribution
Mr. Paul GerberdingDST Systems
Mr. Jim KogerH&R Block
Ms. Jamie KrismanHelms Properties, LLC
Mr. Kelley MartinMartin Financial Group, LLC
Mr. Mark WilperTradebot
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 4
Unspecified 0
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 100%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Parents
CEO Comments Autism Works developed a Parent Advisory Committee in 2016 to help lead us into the future. Together, they form a strong team and are a vital part of our organization's growth and success.
Financials
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2019
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2019
Projected Revenue $128,000
Projected Expenses $128,000
Spending Policy Income Only
Foundation Comments
  • FY 2017, 2016, 2015: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990.
  • Foundation/Corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
 
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$77,888$76,868$77,050
Administration Expense$17,771$20,798$20,296
Fundraising Expense$0$0$0
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.991.040.79
Program Expense/Total Expenses81%79%79%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$55,746$56,822$52,935
Current Assets$48,292$46,915$46,437
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$507$475$431
Total Net Assets$55,239$56,347$52,504
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities95.2598.77107.74
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountIndividual Donor $13,000TradeBot Systems $8,464Kunkel & Associates $10,200
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountIrven E. & NeVada P. Linscomb Foundation $10,000 -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountIndividual Donor $3,000 -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Other Documents
Annual Report2017View
Annual Report2016View
Annual Report2013View
Organization Name Autism Works, Inc.
Address 915 East County Road H
Liberty, MO 64068
Primary Phone (816) 792-0019
Contact Email info@autism-works.org
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Dessarey Klarlund
Board Chair Mr. Jim Koger
Board Chair Company Affiliation H&R Block
Year of Incorporation 2010