In 2011, Autism Speaks provided a grant to the Autistic Global Initiative of the Autism Research Institute, a committee of adults diagnosed with autism, to create a curriculum and online course to train caregivers on ways to best support young adults and adults with autism. This Your Dollars @ Work post answers frequently asked questions about the course and tells the story of the impact the course has had on one young man and his support staff. The fourth round of the course will begin Monday, June 23rd! Learn more here!
The information below was shared with us by Valerie Paradiz, Director of the Autistic Global Initiative and a member of the Autism Speaks Family Services Committee.
The AGI Residential/Daily Living Support Course was developed by a team of 15 curriculum experts and is instructed by world-renowned faculty. The 12-week online course provides evidence-based practices to those who support people with autism and related disabilities in daily living and residential settings.
Below is a testimonial from one young man whose staff members attended the course, as well as quotes from two of his support staff members.
"Having well-trained direct-support providers is frankly the key to having a successful life for me and others like me. Basically the AGI course gave my two new direct-support providers a really firm foundation for understanding why I am the way I am. They learned how to insure that my dearly-needed supports were in use."
- Jeremy Sicile-Kira, a young man with autism whose support providers have participated in the course. Read more from Jeremy here.
"Spend a day with Jeremy Sicile-Kira and you'll meet the most amazing young man who, despite his severe autism, just wants to be like everybody else. Jeremy is 24 years old and non-verbal. He requires round the clock support, and I am one of his support staff. Jeremy invited me to take the AGI Online Residential/Daily Living Course, so that I could learn more strategies to support him better. I completed the 12-week certificate course in early November. It’s amazing now to see that I can actually implement what I've learned in class into daily activities with Jeremy."
- JamyLee Nuss, part of Jeremy's residential and community staff team
"The AGI Online Residential/Daily Living Course contains an incredible amount of information about the nature of autism and the many evidence-based supports that can be implemented to meet an individual's needs. The greatest benefit that I have received from this course has been my increased ability to be understanding and patient with Jeremy."
- Matthew Murphy, a member of Jeremy's in-home support team
What is AGI?
The Autistic Global Initiative (AGI) is a division of the Autism Research Institute staffed by a committee of adults with autism who work in the disability and advocacy fields. AGI’s mission is to foster the development of adults on the autism spectrum along with those who work with and for them.
What is the Houlton Institute?
The Houlton Institute is a leading online education provider that partners with renowned, mission-driven non-profits and research organizations worldwide in order to create high-quality, online courses and programs.
How does the online course work?
This online course provides an interactive, self-paced training taught by expert professors in the field. You also have a TA and around the clock tech support. The program includes activities, assignments, and discussions with fellow participants in the course. There are no prearranged meeting times, and you can easily access your course when it’s convenient for you. Programs can be completed anytime that works within your busy schedule.
How long is the course?
This course lasts for 12 weeks. Upon submission of assignments and assessments, you’ll receive a certification of completion.
Are there assignments or exams?
Each weekly module has activities, assignments and assessments related to the focus subject area(s) of the module. On average, you’ll spend 2-3 hours weekly to complete each module.
What is the cost?
You can apply to receive continuing education credits (CEUs) for the course. Learn more here.
Where will my money go, if I enroll in this course?
AGI does not receive payment for the course. It has been priced to make it as affordable as possible for families, agencies and others who wish to achieve the certificate. A portion of the enrollment fee pays your instructor and teaching assistant. It also supports individuals with autism in becoming employed as TAs for the course. Our online education partner, the Houlton Institute, makes income from this project to maintain its sustainability and availability.
What will it mean to me to have the course certificate?
Achieving the certificate at the end of the course means that you have learned best and evidence-based practices for supporting adults with autism and related disabilities in a residential/daily living setting. For families, this certificate brings you confidence that the support you provide or the staff you hire are trained specific to autism. For agency workers, students in the compassionate care fields or others working in the disability fields, the certificate offers you a resume-building credential that demonstrates your ability to support adults with autism.
Must I have this certificate in order to support adults with autism?
Although it is not required, many agencies, families, and adults with autism increasingly require that a direct support provider have the knowledge and understanding of how to appropriately support a person with autism’s specific daily living needs. Knowing that you are trained in a specialized curriculum that emphasizes best and evidence based practices will make you a strong candidate when seeking employment.
Your Dollars @ Work is a blog series highlighting the important work of past recipients of Autism Speaks grants to give you a glimpse into how your donations are changing lives of so many in the autism community! Check out previous entries here!