Autism Certification Program Gathers Momentum

Awareness is on the rise as researchers provide more information – and ask more questions – about the origins of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). During Autism Awareness Month, Pipeline will share information about efforts by DODD and our stakeholder partners to learn more, diagnose earlier, and provide new training opportunities for families and professionals. People who have autism have many gifts along with some challenges. We celebrate these gifts, while we learn to better understand the challenges.

Interagency Work Group on Autism (IWGA) members met recently at the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) to track progress on the development of a new online curriculum for autism certification. Information about ASD in Action is online, explaining the unique training and certification program being developed through a partnership between DODD and the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), with support and funding from the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation. Launching in autumn 2015, ASD In Action is designed to help ensure that providers – including paraprofessionals, job coaches, residential facilities staff, childcare services, and other caregivers – are properly trained to work with and meet the needs of individuals with autism.

ASD logo

The program, which will be free to all Ohioans, incorporates four modules to meet the needs of different audiences, including families, and offers optional certification for professionals who work with individuals with autism. At the recent IWGA meeting, Program Director for the Autism Certification Center Carly McVey noted that the project’s emphasis on filming video sequences at locations around the state effectively illustrates creative ways to open doors to help children with ASD learn, and points the way toward emerging best practices. She explained,

We are looking for – and finding – solid practices in action that can be replicated in a curriculum or through instruction techniques. We have found some amazing teachers in this process who really reach out – and into – the people they are working with.”

McVey added, “These will be very powerful visual modules, and it’s exciting to see this really coming together now. Curriculum users will move through a progression of learning and responding that keeps them engaged and prepared for each next step.”

DODD Deputy Director Teresa Kobelt underscored the importance of the collaborative approach and its progress to-date. She observed, “I am very impressed with OCALI’s efforts. DODD hears regularly from families who can’t find providers trained to meet the needs of their children, including adult children who are on the Spectrum. This training will increase the capacity of providers greatly – across all systems – to understand, and skillfully use the best tools and techniques to improve the quality of life for people with autism. I can’t wait to see the final product.”

The ASD in Action website offers more information about the program, including an overview video, highlights of the modules under development, and details about the different levels of training. To see photos, videos, and more updates about the activities of the Autism Certification Center, read the Blog.

More about ASD in Action at www.autismcertificationcenter.org

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