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Area University Opens Autistic Resource Center

December 1, 2011

WSET Ch. 13

Danville, VA - Averett University has created what they're calling an Autism Resource Center. The grand opening of the Carrington Autism Resource Center was Wednesday.

One in every 110 children in the United States has autism, and parents of those children say they struggle for help because they don't know where to turn for advice or encouragement.

Funded by a $20,000 grant, the center aims to provide teaching resources for parents of autistic children. A room equipped with autism friendly technology will act as a library, lending valuable teaching tools to parents and children.

It's equipped with games, books and toys all aimed at helping parents and teachers better understand the not-so-well understood disease.

"We have seen an increase in the identification of students in our division that we provide services for over the last five years," said Andy Thacker, director of special education at Danville Public Schools.

Parents of autistic children are happy they'll have a new place for resources.

"This gives a central resource for parents to start the process of finding out what tools are here. This is huge for the families to receive," said Heather Vipperman, a parent of an autistic child.

Averett hopes this will act as a launching pad of sorts. They've begun offering certified autism training as a part of their psychotherapy program.

The center will be open Monday through Friday in the university library.