April 22, 2008
For immediate release
The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Center for Asperger Research, established in June 2007 within the Koegel Autism Center at UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School, celebrates its successes for its first year of operation. Among the highlights, this unique facility – headed by international autism experts Drs. Robert and Lynn Koegel – has implemented a new support program for university students with Asperger Syndrome (AS); created the first-ever University of California system-wide course on Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism (HFA); begun research studies; and began to establish itself as an international clearinghouse in research and treatment of Asperger Syndrome.
In coordination with the disabilities program at UC Santa Barbara and anonymous donors in the Koegel Autism Center, The Broad Center began offering special orientation, tutorial, and counseling services to UCSB freshmen identifying as having Asperger Syndrome or HFA. These services are being provided and evaluated by graduate students under the direction of Drs. Robert and Lynn Kern Koegel. While the immediate goal of this unique initiative is to develop scientifically sound interventions to assist students with AS to succeed academically and socially at UCSB, the larger aim is to develop a working model of effective intervention and support that can be disseminated widely to enable many more bright young people with Asperger Syndrome to be successful (both socially and academically) in college. The goal of this research is to increase the opportunities for individuals with AS to be admitted and complete four year college degrees. Initial participants have been admitted and have successfully completed their first academic quarters of study.
The on-line system-wide course on Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism includes lectures by Dr. Robert Koegel, Dr. Lynn Koegel, and other internationally known research faculty throughout the University of California’s campuses. This course is to be made available nationally and internationally through UCSB Extension to teachers, paraprofessionals, students in the behavioral sciences, and community members.
A number of research studies, focusing on improving socialization for individuals as early as the first year of life through adulthood are beginning. These studies are being implemented in schools, community settings, homes, and colleges. The hope is to improve the lifestyle and outcome for this long-neglected group of individuals who do not receive the social support they need, with the expectation of having them participate as productive and happy members of society. Dissemination of symptoms for better diagnosis will also be a focus.
The Broad Center will conclude memorandums of understanding with seven prominent universities throughout the United States that are also conducting research on Asperger Syndrome by June 2008. Researchers from these universities will produce abstracts of their most current and on-going studies on AS (pre-publication) for dissemination through the Koegel Autism Center and Eli and Edythe L. Broad Center for Asperger Research website and in hard copy. Principal researchers and their universities are: Dr. Mendy Boettcher at Stanford University, Dr. Connie Kasari at UCLA, Dr. Anne Mastergeorge at UC Davis Mind Institute, Dr. Brenda Smith Miles at University of Kansas, Dr. Wendy Stone and Dr. Paul Yoder at Vanderbilt University, Dr. Fred Volkmer at Yale University, and Dr. Amy Wetherby at Florida State University.
[Robert and Lynn Koegel are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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