Skip to main content

Strategic Plan for Autism Education Center

Context For Planning

The Autism Education Center (AEC) was started in 2001 to provide training, resources, technical support, and coordination statewide and in the local community to meet the needs of a growing number of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Our primary role is to provide resources and leadership in guiding schools, families, and community partners to follow legal requirements, evidence-based practice, and data to educate children with ASD. We also work with school and community partners to promote integration in all aspects of life. As an increasing number of students with ASD enter college, the AEC role at the university level has grown since these students often need higher level supports to be successful in college. Ultimately, our goal is to help children, youth, and college-age students move into adulthood as maximally independent individuals with skills, choices, and opportunities for employment, leisure, and housing.

Mission

The Autism Education Center works with schools, community partners, and families to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder to become active, engaged members of their schools and local communities and successfully move into adulthood as independent individuals with many choices and opportunities.

Vision

Ensuring that all individuals with autism spectrum disorder have the supports, skills, and opportunity to learn, play, live, and work in a fully integrated community.

Value Statement

The Autism Education Center values:

Strategic Priorities, outcomes, and key objectives

Strategic Priority Area 1: Actively engage learners at all levels.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Further develop exceptional personnel.

Outcome C: Grand Valley has mutually beneficial relationships, partnerships, collaborations, and connections with local, state, national, and world communities.

Objective 2.C.1

Autism Education Center will sustain collaborative relationships with: every intermediate school district in the state through the START Project Regional Collaborative Networks; the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education (MDE, OSE); and state agencies and non-profit agencies that support individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the state.

Baseline

Through the START Project, we have partnerships with administrators and staff at every intermediate school district in the Michigan and many school districts. Since the START Project is funded through MDE, OSE, we have an ongoing partnership with state level work in the area of education and special education. Through the AEC and START Project activities, we partner and collaborate with over 10 state agencies, non-profit organizations, and universities on a regular basis.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
Funding for the START Project from the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education The START Project is working with Michigan Intermediate School Districts (ISDs) through an annual financial and regional development contract with 17 Regional Collaborative Networks (RCN), comprised of all 56 ISDs. 107 Collaborative partnership and planning meetings with 10 state agencies, non-profit organizations, and universities through RCN meetings, state autism council meetings, state initiative meetings, and state professional organizations. The ongoing partnership with the school systems in Michigan along with the state agencies, universities, and other community partners increases community engagement in the goals of the project and provides positive visibility to the university. These are mutually beneficial relationships that open opportunities for additional collaboration between GVSU and the community.

Outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 2.E.1

The Autism Education Center will sustain external funding from the Michigan Department of Education and seek additional funding for programs from other sources.

Baseline

Currently in a five-year funding cycle from October 2014-September 2019.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
The GVSU Autism Education Center has received stable funding for the START Project from the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education

Strategic Priority Area 3: Ensure the alignment of institutional structures and functions.

Strategic Priority Area 4: Enhance the institution's image and reputation.

Outcome A: Grand Valley's learning environment is personal, challenging, and transformational, supporting excellent academic programs and co-curricular opportunities.

Objective 4.A.1

The Autism Education Center faculty and staff will seek opportunities for external recognition and responsibilities through roles on state and national level committees and advisory boards related to project work.

Baseline

Currently, the AEC faculty and staff participate on the Governor's Autism Council (1 faculty member), autism council committees (2 faculty and 4 staff), and advisory committees for 2 grants and 3 state initiatives.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
AEC faculty and staff participate on the Governor's Autism Council (1 faculty member), autism council committees (2 faculty and 4 staff), and advisory committees for 2 grants and 3 state initiatives. Participation on these committees and advisory boards increases visibility of the project faculty and staff, the START Project, and GVSU.

Outcome B: Grand Valley is diverse and inclusive.

Objective 4.B.1

The Autism Education Center will make information, resources, and presentations related to disabilities and inclusion available to the campus community including faculty and staff.

Baseline

AEC faculty and staff members have provided presentations on campus to groups such as Public Safety, Alumni, and unit heads, and provided guest lectures for classes. AEC faculty members have provided presentations and ongoing support to the Campus Links program in collaboration with Disability Support Resources.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantive Progress
4 presentations provided as part of the Campus Links program for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) 1 presentation as part of the GVSU Teach-in, in collaboration with a student with a disability Information about transition to college are provided on the START Project website 3 meetings with families interested in having a child with ASD attend GVSU Presentations are most frequently provided in coordination with the GVSU Campus Links program, and information is provided to prospective families and faculty working with students with ASD upon request or by referral.

Outcome E: Grand Valley strategically allocates its fiscal, human, and other institutional resources.

Objective 4.E.1

Through START Project activities, the GVSU Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate will be marketed statewide to school professionals interested in pursuing certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Baseline

For the 16-17 academic year, marketing through the START Project has resulted in 7 applications to the ABA Graduate Certificate program.

Progress

2016 Status
Substantial Progress
5 students were admitted to the GVSU ABA Graduate Certificate Program with all applicants learning of the program through a connection with the START Project. Given the eligibility requirements and intensity of the program, this is a solid number of students. They join 12 school psychology students who also participate in the ABA Graduate Certificate program as part of the school psychology program. The reputation of the START Project has also helped to recruit students to the school psychology program.

Back to list