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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

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
The primary project funded through the Autism Education Center is the Statewide Autism Resources and Training Project (START). The START Project received increased funding in 2018 (based on a graduated three year funding increase request) to continue to work with schools and community partners throughout the state to support the educational needs of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The project has been funded continuously for eighteen years and both the project and its staff are viewed as leaders in ASD throughout the state. Through the START Project Regional Collaborative Networks (RCN), faculty and staff meet with Intermediate School Districts, local school districts, community stakeholders, and family representatives from every region of the state throughout the school year.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
The Autism Education Center's primary funded project is the Statewide Autism Resources and Training (START) Project. This START Project received increased funding in 2017 to continue to work with schools and community partners throughout the state to support the educational needs of students with autism spectrum disorder. Through the START Regional Collaboration Networks (RCN), we meet with Intermediate School District, local school district, community stakeholders, and family representatives from every regional of the state on a monthly basis during the school year. This project, which has been funded continuously for seventeen years, continues to be known throughout the state as a leader in the area of autism, and a program that is supported through GVSU.

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

2018 Status
Achieved
The START Project received continued funding from the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education for 2018-2019. A proposal for a graduated three year funding increase was submitted in 2017. An increase in funding was received for 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.

2017 Status
Achieved
The START Project receives continued funding from the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education (OSE). A proposal for additional funds was submitted for 2017-2019 with an increase approved for 2017.

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

2018 Status
Substantial Progress
The staff at the Autism Education Center continue to seek opportunities for leadership roles and influence through participation in various state and regional activities including presenting at conferences and serving on committees. This includes a leadership role on the Michigan Autism Council (vice-chair), participation on transition and adult services committees, and engagement in community activities to improve services for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, staff are involved in national activities including the National Autism Leadership Summit and serving in advisory roles for other state projects.

2017 Status
Substantial Progress
Autism Education Center faculty and staff continue to take leadership roles with state and regional committees. This includes serving as vice-chair of the Governor Appointed Michigan Autism Council as well as chair of the Michigan Autism State Plan Priority Update.

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

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
Autism Education Center faculty have continued to work with Campus Links to provide training focused on inclusion and social engagement for students with autism spectrum disorder and program mentors. This has included a pilot project using the PEERS social development curriculum to improve social relationship skills. Professional development presentations were provided to library staff on two occasions.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
AEC faculty have provided a modest number of presentations to faculty and students on campus related to disability and inclusion. AEC staff are active members of the Campus Links program for matriculated students with an autism spectrum disorder. This includes providing training and monthly supervision to peer mentors, monthly workshops with Campus Links students, and program coordination with staff from the Disability Support Resources office.

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

2018 Status
Substantive Progress
The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Graduate Certificate Program continues to enroll twelve school psychology graduate students and a small number of students seeking the ABA certificate only. A small number of students have enrolled in the ABA Certificate only program and continued beyond the first class. The program is periodically marketed through the AEC and START Project events.

2017 Status
Substantive Progress
The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Graduate Certificate Program continues to receive a steady number of applicants and students joining the program. Six school-based employees joined twelve school psychology student in the program for 2017. The program is regularly marketed through AEC and START Project events.

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