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On any given weekday, the SIU Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders rings with the laughter of happy children who look like they could be attending day care or pre-kindergarten classes anywhere in the country. When you look a little closer, the kids truly are having a great time, but there is a focus and purpose to their games and activities geared toward improving they way the learn and interact with others. Recent statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control suggest that as many as one in every 150 people in the United States could be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a group of neurologically-based developmental disorders ranging from very mild to severe. In Illinois, The Autism Program, which provides a statewide network of services for persons with ASDs and their families and schools, estimates as many as 26,000 school-age children may be affected.
In this segment, Southern Illinois University Carbondale Chancellor Sam Goldman tours the SIU Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders with Director Anthony Cuvo to learn how the University's programs are helping children with ASDs improve their educational outcomes and quality of life. The Center serves as a site for teaching and interdisciplinary training of graduate students who will be the future professionals in their disciplines of behavior analysis, speech language pathology, and other related professions.
It is also the home for research and evaluation related to creating and disseminating knowledge about autism spectrum disorders. Finally, the Center is a regional focal point in Southern Illinois for service to children with autism spectrum disorders, their families, community service providers, and the public.
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