CMU Clinicians Awarded Autism Grant

| Author: AnnMarie Bates

The Organization for Autism Research Peer Education Grant was recently awarded to AnnMarie Bates, Master Speech Language Pathology (SLP) Clinical Educator, and Dr. Danny Drevon, Director of the Central Michigan University (CMU) School Psychology program. This grant is designed to support projects that aim to increase autism awareness and acceptance among students in grades K-12.

During the 21-22 academic year the departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) and Psychology received this grant and provided autism acceptance lessons to Mount Pleasant Public Schools (MPPS) Kindergarten through 3rd-grade students. During the 2022-2023 academic year, the departments of CSD and Psychology will be providing autism acceptance lessons to 4th- and 5th-grade students at MPPS.

The grant provides materials from Organization for Autism Research including their Kit for Kids | Organization for Autism Research for each 4th- and 5th-grade MPPS student. In addition, we have been awarded additional funds to purchase and read books about children with autism to the MPPS students during these lessons. At the end of the year, these books will be donated to each building's library. The hope is that children will check these books out and reflect upon what it means to have autism with their family members, thereby creating a much more inclusive and accepting environment throughout the Mount Pleasant community.

In addition to providing lessons to the 4th- and 5th-grade students at MPPS, these lessons allow for early interprofessional collaboration between undergraduate CSD and Psychology students. Within the school-based setting, SLP’s and Educational Psychologists work together to support and advocate for children with autism. Being awarded this grant allows them to begin this collaboration early and to develop respect for each field as they move into their graduate training programs.  

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