UNT to expand low-cost autism services

Monday, March 7, 2016 - 18:21

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- The Kristin Farmer Autism Center at the University of North Texas has received a $167,000 grant to expand its low-cost autism services to additional families.

The grant, awarded by the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, will allow the autism center to serve up to 28 families who may not be able to afford the costs of intensive autism treatment.

"We're thrilled to have been selected as a service provider for the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services," said Kevin Callahan, executive director of the Kristin Farmer Autism Center. "We look forward to working with additional families to address the critical needs of children with autism in our community."

UNT is recruiting children ages 3-15 who can benefit from focused treatments using evidence-based autism treatments known as Applied Behavior Analysis strategies. The new grant will pay for a significant portion of the total costs of the therapy. These services are often not covered by health insurance, and the cost may be more than many families can afford to pay privately. 

Children in the autism center's program can receive as many as 30 hours of focused therapy per month aimed at improving language and communication, social skills and adaptive behaviors. The autism center's intervention also can target other challenging behaviors that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder often struggle with.

Susan Nichols, associate executive director at the autism center, said she and her staff are excited to begin serving their new clients as soon as possible.

"The UNT treatment model provides effective, individualized and research-based treatments," said Nichols. "Working collaboratively with parents to ensure the best possible outcomes is an important part of our total team approach."

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission expanded the number of grants awarded throughout the state, which will allow the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services to serve many more families this year.

The Kristin Farmer Autism Center is working to evaluate innovative autism treatments which could further expand access to effective autism programming by Texas families. For information about enrolling for services with the autism center, please contact Kristi Klusman at 940-369-5006.

About the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center

The UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center, housed in UNT's College of Education, provides individuals with ASD and their families a resource for comprehensive autism treatment, research and support.  The center helps bring together UNT's long history of interdisciplinary autism services and research. The center allows families in the North Texas region and beyond to have access to high-quality services designed and implemented by top researchers, professors, and professionals in the fields of special education, applied behavior analysis, early childhood intervention, speech and language pathology, and other fields in autism and disabilities intervention.

About UNT's College of Education

UNT's College of Education prepares students to contribute to the advancement of education, health, and human development.  Founded in 1890 as a teacher's training college, the college now enrolls more than 4,000 students within four departments – Counseling and Higher Education; Educational Psychology; Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation; and Teacher Education and Administration. The college certifies about 1,000 teachers a year – making it one of the largest producers of new teachers in the north Texas region. Students are also prepared for careers as researchers, counselors, leaders, physical activity and health promotion specialists, child development and family studies specialists, and more.

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