The funding, awarded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, will allow for the expansion of the College of Education’s Autism Training Workshop Series.
The Texas Tech University Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research, part of the College of Education, was recently awarded $475,000 by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to expand their Autism Training Workshop Series on Functional Behavior Assessments. The funding, which is a renewal of a previously awarded grant from the THECB's Autism Grant Program, will allow the university to partner with Texas Education Service Centers to take the workshop out to autism specialists and educators across the state.
“It's exciting to be able to further disseminate these training workshops to educational professionals around the state,” said Wesley Dotson, director of the Burkhart Center. “With the addition of Dr. Jennifer Hamrick to our faculty, we've been able to grow and expand the reach of our projects. Her vision of taking the workshops to Education Service Centers around the state, while also preparing local specialists in how to deliver the workshops, will make it possible to train more professionals more efficiently than before while also building capacity in each region to continue those activities.”
Dotson and Hamrick, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership and a board-certified behavior analyst within the Burkhart Center, will lead the project with Melanie Teague, grant manager of the Burkhart Center's Teacher Training Institute. The institute offers professional training for teachers or clinicians working with students with autism.
Teague said the center is in the process of planning the trainings to begin implementation this fall. The goal is to hold 20 trainings over the next two years, hosting workshops for at least 400 special education professionals in Texas.
“We will initially have the autism specialists who are interested in partnering come to a three-day training here at the Burkhart Center in Lubbock so that they are familiar with the workshop and will be able to help recruit education professionals in their area,” Teague said. “We are excited about this grant and the opportunity to continue to provide this three-day intensive training, as it has had great success over the past two years”
Educators who attend the trainings will learn skills related to conducting functional behavior assessments and then using that data from those assessments to design and evaluate the effectiveness of evidence-based intervention programs for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They also will learn how to prepare individualized and supportive behavior intervention plans for students with ASD.
“As the prevalence of ASD increases and awareness of the importance of designing effective and evidence-based treatments for students also grows, we look forward to working with partners from across the state to offer the training and support educators need to fully include and successfully educate all of their students,” Dotson said.
For more information about the Burkhart Center, visit the website.