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Feature: The People We Serve

Annual Autism Conference Provides Information and Support The Children’s Institute runs simultaneously with the Autism Conference and provides activities for children with autism and their siblings while their parents attend the conference. The Institute is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Penn State held its first conference on autism in 1998. Expectations for attendance were modest, about 100 people. When three times that many showed up, it punctuated reality. The incidence of reported autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has increased significantly since the early 1990s. In Pennsylvania alone, diagnoses of autism have increased more than 2,000% in the last two decades, and Penn State’s College of Education is at the forefront of leadership in autism education. The annual National Autism Conference held each August at University Park has become one of the most visible examples of the College’s leadership in the field. The conference provides comprehensive, evidence-based information to help attendees develop effective educational programming for all students with autism spectrum disorders. To produce the comprehensive symposium, the College collaborates with Penn State Outreach, the Pennsylvania Training Assistance Network, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. Attendance at the conference has grown to nearly 2,500 people, making it one of the world’s largest such conferences. Many of those attending are family members of those with autism. Others are medical and behavioral professionals, counselors, social workers, school administrators, and educators. In addition to the five-day conference, the College offers a postbaccalaureate professional development certificate in autism, as well an advanced graduate seminar, Educating Individuals with Autism, which addresses current issues and evidence-based strategies for professionals who work with individuals with ASDs. Learn more: www.outreach.psu.edu/programs/autism —David Price

Penn State Education

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Profile for Penn State College of Education

Penn State College of Education 2010 Magazine  

The 2010 issue of Penn State Education features the many ways Penn State College of Education faculty, staff, students, and alumni are invol...

Penn State College of Education 2010 Magazine  

The 2010 issue of Penn State Education features the many ways Penn State College of Education faculty, staff, students, and alumni are invol...