Kentucky has been selected by the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders to be one of only three states to receive technical assistance related to autism, which affects more than 2,300 school-aged children statewide.
Of nine grant applications nationwide, Kentucky, Michigan and Minnesota were selected to receive the assistance.
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and the Kentucky Autism Training Center (KATC), located at the University of Louisville, partnered on the grant application. KDE and KATC will work in collaboration with the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the M.I.N.D. Institute at the University of California Davis Medical School to implement the two-year project.
KDE and KATC also will partner with the statewide network of Special Education Cooperatives and Early Childhood Regional Training Centers, Kentucky’s Infant-Toddler Program (First Steps), the Parent Training and Information Network (KY-SPIN), the Kentucky Council on Developmental Disabilities, institutions of higher education and many other state partners.
The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders will provide professional development and technical assistance to help Kentucky promote implementation of evidence-based practices for early identification, intervention and education for children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
These practices should produce the best possible outcomes for families and students with ASD, spanning the age range from infancy to early adulthood (21 years). In addition, the center will help Kentucky establish model sites demonstrating evidence-based practices for ASD and in evaluating and measuring child, family, practitioner and system-level outcomes.
The purposes of the two-year project, which will begin in Kentucky in January 2009, are to:
- increase the number of highly qualified personnel (particularly teachers and practitioners) serving children and youth with ASD in Kentucky
- establish a sustainable system of professional development in evidence-based practices in ASD
- provide technical assistance support for early childhood practitioners, educational leaders, teachers and school-based personnel
Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and other governmental agencies, autism is growing at the rate of ten to 17 percent per year. At this rate, autism could reach 4,000,000 Americans in the next decade. Each individual with autism accrues about $3.2 million in costs to society over his or her lifetime, with lost productivity and adult care being the most expensive components, according to a report in the April 2008 issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders operates under a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).
The Kentucky Autism Training Center is housed in the University of Louisville College of Education and Human Development. The center’s mission is to enhance supports for persons with autism by providing information and technical assistance to families and service providers across Kentucky.