“Within the first six months of being in this program and working with these kiddos, I fell in love.”
Micheale Marcus is part of a University of Nebraska-Lincoln school psychology traineeship that provides hands-on experience with toddlers on the autism spectrum disorder.
Funded by a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, students in the two-year program are learning to diagnose autism in young children—ages 18 months to four years—and implement early intervention services. They are also learning how to help families transition to school-based services.
The program is led by CYFS research associate professor Gina Kunz; Terri Mathews, associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute; and project manager William Higgins, UNMC assistant professor.
“There is a need to identify autism spectrum disorders and provide services to children as early as possible,” said Kunz. “School psychologists are in the best role to facilitate that process and tie it into families and school educators, so that these students with ASD can enter formal school settings as well equipped and prepared as possible.”
Faculty will be recruiting students for the traineeship on an ongoing basis.