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VCU-ACE Spring Autism Academy big success! 

During the week of March 28 through April 1, eight Autism Services Improvement Teams (representing 12 school divisions) gathered in Richmond to work intensively on drafting comprehensive strategic division-wide plans.  These elaborate improvement plans consisted of vision, missions, beliefs and goals for technical assistance for the upcoming 3 year cycle.  Both anecdotal and evaluation feedback showed that the teams found this process to be very helpful in plotting the course for systems-wide improvements to their autism programs. 

Participants of the Academy had great things to say:  “Such a positive, affirming worthwhile experience,”  “Valuable information,” and “A terrific opportunity to reflect on our practices and collaborate on moving our school district forward!”


VCU-ACE completed the first running of the Foundations of Autism course.

VCU-ACE launched its first Foundations of Autism Spectrum Disorders course on March 21, 2011.  There were fifty participants in the course and they had great things to say about it:

• I really liked the video in Module One on the parent panel.
• I loved the presentations!
• I really enjoyed the resources and getting to hear from the varied people on the discussion board.

Read on to find out how you can take part!


Registration is now open for the next “Foundations of Autism” online course.  Sign up now!

Registration is now open for the online coursework, “Foundations of Autism.”  This two week online course is free to individuals in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  It is designed to provide the participant with an understanding of the primary characteristics of ASD which include impairments in communication and social development and the presence of repetitive patterns of behavior. Related issues, such as secondary characteristics, sensory processing differences, comorbid disabilities, and learning styles are also discussed.  This coursework is limited to 50 participants, so sign up now!


Register now for the upcoming webcast with Shawn Henry, Planning your Student’s Program Using the Comprehensive Autism Planning System, May 10 at 3:30pm EST. 

This webcast will provide an overview of the Comprehensive Autism Planning System (CAPS).  CAPS is an easy-to-use system that allows educators to understand how and when to implement an instructional program for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The CAPS model helps the educational team develop a plan to implement a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) effectively. The CAPS model answers the questions (a) What supports does my student/child need in each class to be successful? (b) What goals is my student/child working on? and (c) Is there a thoughtful sequence to the student’s/child’s day for implementation of instruction?  Dr. Henry will lead participants through the CAPS process which includes the use of natural opportunities and supports to ensure student success as well as data collection to measure that success.

Webcast Information

In Other News...

Local chapters of The Autism Society are sponsoring a special one night showing in Midlothian and Fairfax of the nationally acclaimed film, "Wretches and Jabberers" on May 12, 2011. 

Participating in “100 Cities. One Night for Autism,”  the Central Virginia and Northern Virginia Chapter of the Autism Society are sponsoring local showings.  “Wretches and Jabberers” is a feature documentary by academy award®-winning director Gerardine Wurzburg. 

In 'Wretches & Jabberers and Stories from the Road', two men with autism embark on a global quest to change prevailing attitudes about disability and intelligence. With limited speech, Tracy Thresher, 42, and Larry Bissonnette, 52, both faced lives of mute isolation in mental institutions or adult disability centers. When they learned as adults to communicate by typing, their lives changed dramatically. Their world tour message is that the same possibility exists for others like themselves. At each stop, they dissect public attitudes about autism and issue a hopeful challenge to reconsider competency and the future. Along the way, they reunite with old friends from the USA, expand the isolated world of a talented young painter and make new allies in their cause.

For more information about the film, locations, and tickets, click here.   


Have you checked out the VARC Lending Library? 

The Virginia Autism Resource Center at Virginia Commonwealth University houses a lending library that offers a wide variety of materials and information. Our extensive lending library offers more than 1,000 books and 200 videotapes on topics related to autism spectrum disorders. Anyone residing in the Commonwealth of Virginia is eligible to check out items from the lending library and borrowing from our library is free. To search the VARC Lending Library and checkout a book, journal, video or other resource, click here.