Sacred Heart University received a $245,841 grant from the U.S. Department of Education toward the improvement of their literacy programs for autistic youth, according to the office of Congressman Jim Himes.
“Autistic children can face numerous unique challenges when learning how to read and write,” said Himes. “Training educators on how to teach reading and writing to autistic children will change students’ lives.
"The CDC reports that one in 59 children in the United States is affected by ASD. As we learn more about this disorder, it’s more important than ever to have well-trained educators in Southwest Connecticut schools.
"I’m thrilled that Sacred Heart University will be implementing this training.”
The awarded grant money will go toward training graduate students who are studying speech-language pathology and occupational therapy the most effective ways to teach reading and writing skills to children on the Autism Spectrum.
Dr. Rhea Paul, professor and chair of the Department of Communication Disorders at Sacred Heath University, said: “The grant will allow us to develop a specialized curricula in our College of Health Professions programs to help our speech-language pathology and occupational therapy graduate student target skills that support learning to read and write as part of the services they provide to students with autism.
“The grant will enable us to create a unique training program for our graduate students that deepens their understanding of autism and how it affects reading and other academic skills and gives them opportunities to work with professionals outside their own discipline on achieving success in reading for students with ASD.”
Grant monies will also go toward scholarship assistance for students who commit to working with autistic children in school settings at least two years post-graduation
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