Autism Pathways

THE CHALLENGE

The number of children diagnosed with ASD has grown from 1 in 150 to 1 in 68 over the last decade. Not nearly enough teachers are qualified to work with children with ASD, whether in typical classroom settings or more specialized environments aimed specifically at students with more severe disabilities.

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$6M
Phase 1 Goal
For more information or to learn about getting involved, please contact:
Kelly Reinhardt
(434) 243-1962
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THE OPPORTUNITY

The University of Virginia is uniquely poised to improve outcomes for Virginians affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through the creation of a university-based center of excellence. The Curry School is stepping up to help fill this needand moreas it leads the charge to establish a pan-University Center for Autism. We envision this center as a national model, known for the quality of research and for the creation of a replicable, scalable model of community-based service and comprehensive education for teachers and clinical professionals.

THE STRATEGY

Bringing together unique research as well as clinical and educational expertise from across the university is central to Curry’s vision. We will develop a comprehensive, community-focused center to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by ASD, learning disabilities, and neuro-developmental disorders from early childhood through adulthood.  Consolidating and coordinating expertise under one umbrella through the center will minimize administrative duplication, integrate training, and expand the impact of UVA’s research and service.

Current Status: Seed funding to continue to build strategic partnerships, hire a program manager, and expanded clinical services including faculty stipends and graduate student internships.
  • Phase 1
    $6M

    The first phase of our vision includes a three-year plan to leverage existing partnerships within the Curry School, UVA, and local schools, creating a solid internal foundation before we begin to scale up research and training.

    This phase will be anchored by several new hires, including a clinical director for the Sheila C. Johnson Center for Human Services and a joint faculty hire between the Curry School and the UVA Department of Pediatrics. We will expand training for Curry School undergraduates in the Teacher Education program through the practicum experiential learning course in partnership with the Virginia Institute of Autism, and we will provide direct financial assistance for families who use the clinical services at Curry, which will continue throughout all three phases of our plan.

  • Phase 2

    We will build on the strength of our Phase 1 human capital and physical capital investments. We will expand the Curry School of Education’s reach within the Commonwealth to include additional service areas and partnerships.

  • Phase 3

    The third phase will mark a physical creation of the Center, creating a space for collaborative work and expanding faculty and administrative staffing capacity. The needs for this phase will move towards capital and non-academic staff, as faculty and doctoral student funding should begin to come from grant activity and university investment. We will expand our partnerships to regional offices in the surrounding states, as well as additional resources added to promote outreach to those beyond our service and research areas.

BIG IDEA TEAM

  • Marty Block
    Professor
  • Jason Downer
    Associate Professor of Education, Director of CASTL, and Program Area Director for Clinical and School Psychology
  • Jane Hilton
    Assistant Professor
  • John Lloyd
    Professor
  • Peter Sheras
    Professor, Chair, Dept. of Human Services
  • Bill Therrien
    Professor
  • Amanda Williford
    Research Associate Professor
  • Kelly Reinhardt
    Major Gift Officer
IN THE NEWS
  • Autism Pathways: UVA Scholars and Community Provide Vision for Autism Center
    The Curry School of Education and the UVA Brain Institute along with co-sponsors Virginia Institute of Autism, The Faison Center, and Autism Speaks hosted an interdisciplinary symposium on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 to explore ways to break down research “silos,” and establish a network of relationships to better serve those affected by autism.
  • Curry School shares upcoming events related to autism research, service, and training

    The Curry School of Education Foundation is pleased to share a digest of upcoming events related to autism research, service, and training. Please visit the links following each event to learn more. For general questions, please contact Kelly Reinhardt, ksr2h@virginia.edu or 243-1962.

  • UVA Today: UVA, Va. Tech Seek Ways to Assist Drivers with Autism
    The University of Virginia Health System is teaming with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to study novice drivers with autism to determine if they would benefit from specialized training to help them become better, safer drivers and feel more comfortable behind the wheel.