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AUCD Poster Examines ABCs of Autism

Sue Reeves


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Gina A. Cook, a research scientist at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities presented a poster entitled “Supporting Families of Young Children in Utah with an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis” at the recent Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) conference. The poster originated from a Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) project about five or six years ago, Cook explained. Lori Krasny, a URLEND trainee, wanted to provide more information, resources and support to parents of children newly diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Utah, and their professional partners to understand and care for a child with ASD. She gathered experts from around the state and developed six-week courses by pediatricians, behaviorists and other professionals. “The parents loved it,” Cook said, and thought it should be expanded. Krasny applied for a grant to make the program into a curriculum that could be taught, Cook said. After her URLEND training was over, the project was taken over by Cook, Judith Holt and Marilyn Hammond, who finished the train-the-trainer videos. Cook received an Interagency Outreach Training Initiative (IOTI) grant to take the curriculum across the state to several hundred families, in conjunction with Utah Family Voices. More than 400 parents and 70 professionals attended the trainings, which included a mixture of lecture, video, activities and discussion periods. The curriculum was designed to be interactive and flexible to provide parents with the information they want and need.

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