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MSU autism program receives nearly $550,000 grant

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Project Access, Missouri State University's autism program, has been awarded a $549,587 grant from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Process Access, established by the DESE's Division of Special Education, studies ways to enhance the development of the professional skills of Missouri's teachers who serve students with autism, according to the project's Web site. Through MSU's Project Access program, DESE is able to provide aid to facilities statewide.

"MSU is the contractor, or the facilitator, for DESE to provide these facilities," said Dennie Kear, Dean of the university's College of Education, of which Procect Access is a subset.

The grant will be used to provide online training and workshops to Missouri schools, Kear said. The grant is an annual update that has previously allowed Project Access to provide these programs to the state, he said.

Kear said in a news release the funding is becoming especially necessary since a growing number of children are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. According to a 2006 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 110 children are affected by autism. Comparitively, a CDC study in 2004 found that approximately 1 in 125 children were affected by the disorder.

"We have to provide teachers with the training and support to assist children to be successful," Kear said in the release.[[In-content Ad]]

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