In what was deemed an historic day not only for Averett, but for the region, the University opened its Carrington Autism Resource Center on Nov. 30. The center, which is located on the second floor of Mary B. Blount Library, will serve as a place for parents of autistic children as well as educators and clinicians to find the resources they need.
"While we are pleased by the progress we're making in our autism initiative, we knew it wasn't enough," said Averett President Dr. Tiffany Franks. "We knew parents needed resources as well because it can be a bewildering time for parents and expensive to purchase everything they need. We want everyone to be able to access sources freely when they need it."
The resource center is a lending-library of autism-related materials, resources, iPads, games and books to help parents, teachers, clinicians and caregivers assist in intervention efforts of children with autism in our region.
Heather Vipperman, who found out her child was autistic in August is very excited about the resources the center will be able to provide.
"It was overwhelming when we learned the news," Vipperman said. "There is a community of parents that needs support here in the area, and I'm thankful to the Carrington Trust for providing this for Averett.
"I'm very excited about the technology available and the resources available to parents and children. I hope this helps make it easier for parents to find what they need."
The resource center came to fruition thanks to a $20,000 grant from The Alexander Berkeley Carrington Jr. and Ruth Simpson Carrington Charitable Trust.
In the fall of 2008, the University began offering a certificate training program for teachers. The following year, in the fall of 2009, the Virginia Autism Council gave Averett approval to issue a certificate of training in autism spectrum disorders. In addition, the equestrian studies program began offering a concentration in equine-assisted psychotherapy this fall.
The University has also received a challenge match to hire a director of autism studies and is actively seeking funding for that position.
The Carrington Autism Resource Center will be open Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m.-8 p.m. and Friday 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
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