Ohio Debuts First-of-Its-Kind Online Program to Help Those With Autism

The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) has developed an online video course for both families and providers of individuals with autism. It’s the first program of its kind to exist in the U.S., according to a press release from the organization.

The state-funded training course, called “ASD Strategies in Action,” aims to help anyone interacting with someone on the autism spectrum gain a better understanding of the disorder — and specific techniques to help those with it.

Shawn Henry, Executive Director at OCALI wrote: “If we can better equip parents and providers with practical strategies they can use on a daily basis, we can ensure families and individuals have a high quality of life.”

The program is free for Ohio residents; others can pay a subscription fee. The introductory course, “Many Faces of Autism,” helps identify common characteristics and serves to “dispel common misconceptions through the experiences and perspectives of individuals on the autism spectrum,” according to the course website.

The course is then organized by strategy and age range, which covers early childhood to young adulthood. The goal in using an online platform was to allow users to complete the course at their own time and pace but also to give certification to those who complete the work.

I think that’s what parents are dying for — to have their children understood,” Henry told The Dispatch, adding that he hopes the training will help reduce employee turnover at agencies serving children and young adults with autism.

John Martin, director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, which helped fund the program, noted that the training is not mandatory for providers, but he hopes that agencies serving people with autism will push for their employees to gain certification.

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