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Grant Awarded to VCU to Provide Opportunities for Local Young Adults with ID to Experience Success in College and Beyond!

VCU has been awarded a major grant to begin an inclusive, on-campus transition and postsecondary program for young adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). This five year initiative, called ACE-IT (Academic and Career Exploration: Individual Techniques) in College will support students with ID through a 30-month program by building a series of academic learning experiences for credit and non credit through the VCU course catalog. Young adults participating in the program will receive:

ACE-IT in College will enroll approximately 20 students at VCU over the five year project. Beginning in the project's third year, the model will be replicated at two community colleges serving approximately 15 additional students ACE-It in College is a collaboration between the VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) and the Partnership for People with Disabilities. The grant is a part of Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) and is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

For more information, contact Liz Getzel, (804) 827-0748, or
Dana Yarbrough, (804) 828-0352,


August, September, and October Bring a Host of Training Opportunities and Events throughout the State

As professionals and families around the Commonwealth gear up for the start of a new school year, there are many great training and networking opportunities to look forward to!  Check the front page of the VCU-ACE website,  the Virginia Autism Council Calendar, the T/TAC Calendars for your region, Commonwealth Autism Services, and your local ASA Chapters for more information! 

See details on two state-wide conferences below!

Stay Tuned for the Release of the 2011-2012 Webcast Series!

VCU-ACE Training Division is busy preparing the 2011-2012 Webcast Series which promises to be full of informative sessions by well known people in the field!  Check the Training webpage soon for more information. 

While you are there, take a look at our Archived Webcasts!  There are some wonderful presentations on a variety of topics related to ASD.  Don’t forget you can access these anytime! 

VCU T/TAC and the ASA-CV Host “Insight 2011: Practical Solutions for a Supportive School, Home, and Community for Students with ASD,” October 21-22.

Kristi Sakai, nationally renowned speaker, author, and mother of three children on the spectrum will be featured during this three day event as she translates best practice for individuals with ASD into practical strategies.   Friday, October 21, Sakai will present “A Beautiful Spectrum in the Classroom Community; Inclusion for the Student with Asperger Syndrome” followed by an evening workshop, “I Don’t Want to Talk About It! Adolescence and Autism Spectrum Disorder.”  Saturday, October 22, Sakai will focus on the family with “A Grand Adventure! The Joys and Challenges of Parenting a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”  A Pre-Conference workshop on Thursday, October 20th will look at the issues related to diagnosing and serving diverse individuals with Developmental Disabilities.  

Insight 2011 Conference Information

Preparing to Get Back to School? Get a Head Start! Join us for a Webcast by Dr. Cathy Pratt, entitled “Implementation of Evidence Based Practice in the General Education School Setting.”

On August 9, 2011 at 3:30, Dr. Cathy Pratt will lead a webcast entitled, “Implementation of Evidence Based Practice in the General Education School Setting.”  Dr. Cathy Pratt is the Director of the Indiana Resource Center for Autism at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community and is on faculty at Indiana University.  This presentation is intended to help prepare educators to include students with ASD in the general education environment. Dr. Pratt will provide an overview of strategies demonstrated to be effective in the general education classroom to ensure academic and social success. Discussion will include classroom wide strategies, individual supports, and explicit instruction in specific areas of need.  A description of how these strategies work and steps for implementation will be provided.  Sign up now!

ARC 2011 State Convention, “Achieve with Us,” Coming up August 11-13th in Virginia Beach.

The ARC of Virginia is gearing up for their 2011 Convention, August 11, 12, and 13th in Virginia Beach.  In addition to a variety of breakout sessions on topics ranging from self-advocacy to state benefits and from trust planning to AAC, the convention will include a screening of the documentary “Wretches and Jabberers” as well as key note speeches from the primary role players in this movie, advocates Larry Bissonette and Tracy Tresher and their assistants.   Don’t miss this opportunity! 

ARC 2011 State Convention Information

Updates from the Technical Assistance Division of VCU-ACE

School Division-Wide Intervention

Statewide Autism Services Improvement Teams (ASIT) continue to work on their Services Improvement Plans in order to ensure accurate timelines and measurability. ACE Staff have comprised a list of four common goals across divisions: communication, transition, evidence based practice, and administrative fidelity checklists. In addition the ACE organizational model has been completed and represents three levels of supports: state-level systems change, regional communities of practice, and classroom supports. TA Staff in conjunction with Division staff are busily planning for training and technical assistance efforts to begin full speed in the Fall.

In addition, ACE is teaming up with Commonwealth Autism Services to offer two important trainings to ASIT division wide staff and other regional school staff. The first one features Dr. Donald Oswald, Director of Diagnostics and Research at Commonwealth Autism Service, who will discuss early identification screening and evaluation tools for young children suspected of having Autism. The second training will be given to administrative staff on characteristics of Autism and best practice treatments. Any interested administrative staff within 4 areas of the state will be invited.

Also, VCU-ACE Summer Institute took place this past month.  The Summer Institute is a collaborative effort between the National Professional Development Center (NPDC) on Autism Spectrum Disorders, Virginia Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) and VCU-ACE, aimed at supporting new NPDC model site staff.  Training on key evidence based practices, goal attainment scaling and coaching was provided.  Participant feedback indicated the material was well received and very useful.