UC Santa Barbara's Koegel Autism Center receives CA Department of Rehabilitation contract to provide work-life community training for clients on autism spectrum

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The CA Department of Rehabilitation has contracted with UC Santa Barbara's Koegel Autism Center to provide services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). These services will target social and behavioral skills so that individuals can work towards success in employment and be fully integrated into the work-life community. In particular the project will serve the most significantly disabled students/clients attending UC Santa Barbara.

"This contract re-affirms what we already know – that the Koegel Autism Center is not only at the forefront of ASD research, but is also a leader in state-of-the-art treatment," says Dean Jane Close Conoley of the Gevirtz School. "It has long been a concern that individuals with autism, even those who attend some college, may not be adequately prepared to be successful in their preferred careers. It is the Koegel Center's goal to improve the lives of young adults with autism and increase opportunities for success in their socialization, daily living, and career paths."

Disabilities offices at universities typically offer the same one-size-fits-all accommodations to students regardless of their specific disability; however, individuals with autism require an individualized, multi-targeted intervention to succeed. Additionally, universities generally provide academic accommodations but there are few resources to support young adults with ASD in forming relationships and developing the skills necessary to obtain employment.

The Koegel Center will offer unique services that are not available through any other program offered at UC Santa Barbara. Personal, Vocational, and Social Adjustment (PVSA) training activities target the elimination of identified barriers to employment and may include, but are not limited to, issues ranging from appropriate grooming to workplace conduct, from self advocacy to organizational skills. The intervention procedures take many forms, including video feedback and practice prior to actual situations.

The Koegel Autism Research and Training Center, overseen by Drs. Robert and Lynn Koegel, is dedicated to improving the lives and positive life prospects of children with autism, as well as the lives of their families. It has been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences – and ranked among the country's top 12 such facilities – for its innovative research and teaching methods in a variety of areas, including parent education, language development, and teacher education. The Koegel Autism Center is part of The Gevirtz School at UC Santa Barbara.

[Jane Close Conoley is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]