July 18, 2006
For immediate release
Graduate students Nicolette Nefdt and Sharon Elmensdorp will discuss their work with the First S.T.E.P. component of the Koegel Autism Research & Training Center with Ron “The Barron” Herron on KZSB 1290 AM on Wednesday, July 19 from 9-10 am. Those out of the Santa Barbara listening area can hear the broadcast via the web.
Nefdt and Elmensdorp will discuss First S.T.E.P. (Screening, Training, Education Project), which aims to increase the early identification of children with autism spectrum disorders and the provision of support services for families with children with this diagnosis. The project conducts outreach to health care professionals, educators and parents to facilitate earlier identification of children with Autism Spectral Disorder (ASD). This outreach includes providing presentations to interested parties on the early characteristics of ASD and related disorders, distributing posters and flyers (in English and Spanish) and participation at local fairs and festivals. First S.T.E.P, available to children under the age of five residing in Santa Barbara County, provides for screenings, at no cost to the families, with all referred children for the early behavioral characteristics of autism and related disabilities. The program also provides family support for all families who participate in the screenings through information, referrals, and short-term intervention services.
Nicolette Nefdt, MA is a doctoral candidate in special education, disability, and risk studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She currently works with Drs. Bob and Lynn Koegel at the Autism Research & Training Center and coordinates a county funded grant called First S.T.E.P. aimed to increase early identification of autism spectrum disorders. Nicolette has worked extensively with families with children with autism and presented research at regional, state, and national conventions. Her research interests include early identification, pediatrician training and short-term parent education for families awaiting intervention.
Sharon Elmensdorp, MA is a second-year doctoral student in special education, disabilities, and risk studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her M.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University in 2004. For the past 8 years, Sharon has worked with children and adults with developmental disabilities as a direct service provider as well as a service coordinator for a local regional center. She is currently working with children and their families through the UCSB Autism Research and Training Center.
For more information about First S.T.E.P. call 805 893 5737.
[Interviews with Nicolette Nefdt and Sharon Elmensdorp are available; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789.]