Texans can now access free training to enhance language and communication skills of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through a new program at The University of Texas at Austin.
Made possible through a grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the training will enable parents and caregivers from across the state to participate in in-person or online trainings from the UT Speech and Hearing Center. The trainings teach intervention strategies to decrease behavioral issues and increase communication and language skills in children with ASD.
Called Project SKILLS - Skills and Knowledge of Intervention for Language Learning Success — the trainings consist of eight sessions that are free of charge to parents and caregivers of children ages 12 months to 6 years old. Additionally, the program will provide tablets and internet access to parents and caregivers who do not have devices or access to the internet.
"We really want to contact people who can’t afford this type of program, but are in need of assistance because their child was diagnosed with autism,” said Madhu Sundarrajan, co-director of SKILLS and assistant professor in the Moody College of Communication Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “This project is designed to target families who live in Texas, with a focus on individual training for both parent and child."
Children with autism can experience difficulty acquiring communication and language skills, which can impair social, communicative and academic success and lead to behavioral problems. Although early identification and treatment can dramatically improve behavioral and communication outcomes, many families lack access to treatments.
Interested individuals can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512-471-2014.
"SKILLS will train parents to use intervention strategies from both the developmental and behavioral information taught during the course," said Jesse Franco, co-director of the project and assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. "Our goal is to keep recruiting families and provide unique opportunities like this one to those who would otherwise not have access."