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Community Grants: Making a Long-Lasting Impact

In 2011, Autism Speaks funded a project at The Autism Project in Johnston, Rhode Island entitled "Educating for Excellence: Training Paraprofessionals in ASD Best Practices." This project sought to develop and implement a structured ASD training program for paraprofessionals working in human services. The training program would be organized into 20 three hour sessions offered in two segments and covering principles of structured teaching, communication, positive behavior supports, sensory integration, cognitive processing, and relationship development. It would be taught by Master’s level professionals in special education, speech/language pathology, occupational therapy, and behavior supports.

We just received an update from Executive Director Joanne Quinn, who wrote:

"I wanted to let you know that our community college level course for paraprofessionals has been accepted as a permanent course offering for next year! Our last Autism Speaks community grant allowed us to write the curriculum and run a pilot program this year! The evaluations were exceptional. They were very pleased with our proposal and will include the entire course in their offerings starting in September. At this point, it will not be a “for credit” college course, but students will receive a certificate of recognition for completion. We will also work with them to obtain professional CEUs for some of the different disciplines (e.g., PT, OT, SLP, SW). The course can be a part of other programs and will enhance the students resume. CCRI, the college, is also including an article about the program in their Fall Course Offerings catalog.

Thank you again. This grant is having continued impact on the quality of support and education for our kids."

To read about the program and to study the materials produced as a result of the grant, please visit: /family-services/grants/educating-excellence-training-paraprofessionals-asd-best-practices

For more information on our grants program, please visit: /family-services/grants


The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.