In 1974, Debbie Wood was a UMKC psychology student, working with a boy in the Olathe Psychiatric Hospital. Debbie and another student had been taking turns, working with him day and night for eight months. The hospital was getting ready to discharge him, yet there were no schools for him to attend. They were going to send him home, without services. Debbie said – no way! There has to be something better. Debbie, and two other students, started Sherwood Center with six students in a church basement. They used a combination of their last names to create the name and drew toothpicks to see who would be president.


At that time, it was the first agency to provide specialized education and support services to individuals with autism in the Kansas City area. Today, Sherwood Center provides high-quality services to both children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a wide range of developmental disabilities.


The philosophy that “there has to be something better” still drives us today. We constantly seek to find the most effective methods and resources available to the individuals that we serve. Our newest change is the expansion of our facilities.  For the first time ever, our special education program and our adult day program have their own buildings. This is beneficial for both programs as they can expand, better serve their specific population, and support more individuals.


The adult day program stayed at our original location and the special education program moved into the former Calvary Lutheran School at 8030 Ward Parkway Plaza. The location makes us more appealing to public school districts which we hope will bring additional revenue and parent support; it also give us larger classrooms, additional rooms for art and music and a cafeteria.







Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.


ASD affects 1 in 68 children.


There is no medical detection or cure for ASD.


ASD is five times more likely in boys than in girls.


Although ASD varies significantly in character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects every age



People with ASD have a typical life span.




National Institute of Mental Health


Autism Speaks


All About Autism 



Sherwood Center's mission

is to empower individuals with autism spectrum disorder and related disabilities to maximize

their potential in family and

community life.