Nova Center of the Ozarks, INC.

~ Proudly supporting individuals and families affected by autism and other developmental disabilities ~

Our Mission
Nova Center of the Ozarks, Inc., strives to make possible the potential for positive change in the quality of life for every individual with a developmental disability, regardless of the nature of that disability.

About Us

Nova Center of the Ozarks, Inc. has its roots in several key principles: the principle of providing services to persons with developmental disabilities and their families; the principle of every individual’s right to reach their highest potential and live in the least restrictive environment possible.

Nova Center of the Ozarks was incorporated June 5, 1990 as a 501(C)(3) not-for-profit organization. It was established by a group of parents who had children diagnosed with autism. There was a need for services in Southwest Missouri specific to individuals with autism. The state legislature was petitioned for funding and Nova opened a five bed group home in Springfield in June, 1992. The primary focus was for residential services, but because of changing trends, Nova has now evolved into an organization which provides various services.

Tim Nova opened its first ISL (Individual Supported Living arrangement) in December, 1993. In March of 2002, Nova chose to close the five bed group home and move the occupants into ISLs in an attempt to provide more individualized services. Services are also provided to individuals living in the natural home. Nova presently serves individuals diagnosed with a variety of developmental disabilities while maintaining a focus on autism and individuals with challenging behaviors.  Nova is now providing services in the area of behavioral interventions to families and individuals, services for Missouri First Steps, as well as services to area school districts including in district and homebound services.

Services provided in the natural home include: day habilitation services, home skills development, in-home behavior support, and in-home respite care. Nova provides education/information on autism/behavior management techniques to private individuals, other agencies, local universities and the public schools upon request.

It is a fact that persons with developmental disabilities have many obstacles in life, especially those with behavioral challenges. With proper support, they can lead productive lives and play an active role in their community. Our goal as an agency is to help these individuals become active participants in their community and to obtain the highest quality of life possible.


Individualized Supported Living

Nova provides services to individuals who live in their own homes in an individualized supported living arrangement (ISL).  Each home is spacious and tastefully decorated to the liking of the individuals who live in the home.  Due to Nova’s focus on autism and challenging behaviors, most of our ISLs are staffed 24 hours a day.  The goal for each individual in the Nova residential program is to become as independent as possible and to be able to lead a happy and productive life.  The consumers in the residential program will receive support through the Nova staff in obtaining the goals and outcomes stated in each consumer’s personal plan.  In order for an individual to be supported in an ISL they must first be a client of the Springfield Regional Office.  A service coordinator will then coordinate the process for placement between the family and the provider.

Community Integration

Community Integration focuses on involving our clients in their community which includes but is not limited to assisting with doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, budgeting, exercising, transportation, social skills, etc.  The emphasis in this program is to teach specific skills that will further support independence.  This program allows many of our Day Services consumers to live independently rather than having to live in a group home or ISL setting. In addition to assisting them with the basics of independent living, Nova makes it a priority to go beyond that to include opportunities to socialize in small and large group settings.  Every month the staff and consumers plan activities such as cooking classes, movie nights, and seasonal outings that allow these individuals a chance to get together to enhance their social skills.

Home Skills Development

Home Skills Development is part of Nova’s Day Services Program.  In general the consumers in this program still live in their natural home with their parents or guardians.  The focus in this program is assisting these individuals with home skills development including personal hygiene, toileting, cooking, cleaning, etc.  The hours provided allow their primary caregivers a break and the consumer a chance to learn some new skills.  When paired with some community integration hours it provides the ability to go out into their community.

Personal Care Attendant

This service provides assistance with any activity of daily living (ADL) or instrumental activity of daily living (IADL).  This service can include support for the consumer or their family by assisting with feeding, meal preparation, bathing, toileting and any support the consumer needs with activities of daily living.  This service can be provided to a consumer living in their natural home as well as in a residential program.

Professional Training

Nova can provide training to agencies, schools, or interested groups. A list of desired topics is preferred to tailor the training to the needs of the requester.

Behavior Intervention and Support

Nova provides services in the area of behavioral interventions to families and individuals, services for Missouri First Steps, as well as services to area school districts (early childhood-high school) including in-district and homebound services.  Nova’s Intervention and Support Services are provided by board certified behavior analysts (BCBA).  All assessments, interventions, and data collection procedures are based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis.

What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?

Behavior analysis is a scientifically validated approach to understanding behavior and how it is affected by the environment.  In this context, “behavior” refers to actions and skills.  “Environment” includes any influence-physical or social-that might change or be changed by one’s behavior.

Behavior analysis focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place.  Positive reinforcment is one such principle.  When a behavior is followed by some sort of reward, the behavior is more likely to be repeated.  Through decades of research, the field of behavior analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning.  Applied behavior analysis is the use of these techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive change in behavior.

How Does ABA Benefit Those with Autism and other developmental disabilities?

Today, ABA is widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism.  Over the last decade, the nation has seen a particularly dramatic increase in the use of ABA to help persons with autism live happy and productive lives.  In particular, ABA principles and techniques can foster basic skills such as looking, listening and imitating, as well as complex skills such as reading, conversing and understanding another person’s prespective.  ABA is not specific to autism alone.

A number of completed studies have demonstrated that ABA techniques can produce improvements in communication, social relationships, play, self-care, school and employment.


Nova can provide education and information about developmental disabilities, autism and various other topics to agencies, schools or interested groups.  A list of desired topics is preferred to tailor the information and training to the needs of the requestor.