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Communication skill development at The Autism Program

4 graduate students and 1 instructor stand next to a sign for Illinois State University The Autism Program

CSD students gain knowledge during service delivery with children at The Autism Program

Graduate students in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) at Illinois State University provide specialized services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Autism Program at Illinois State University houses an early intervention program, Sprouts, for children ages 3-5 who have been diagnosed with autism.

CSD graduate students travel to The Autism Program twice weekly and provide direct speech-language services to students on the autism spectrum. Sprouts is located within the Milestones Early Learning Center facility at 1207 Six Points Road, Bloomington.

The graduate students receive instruction, guidance, and supervision from a licensed speech-language pathologist, Amy Yacucci, M.S. CCC-SLP/L, while at the center. Children at Sprouts participate in various activities that develop and enhance their functional communication skills during social interaction with peers . Graduate students from the Communication Sciences and Disorders department gain valuable experience through their work with young children in both group and individual settings while managing challenging behaviors and targeting specific, individualized goals.

Many students who attend Sprouts have limited verbal communication skills. Graduate students design and implement both low and high-tech augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems for these individuals. Several children use high-tech dynamic speech generating devices such as an iPad with a language system that allows them to communicate through technology.

The Communication Sciences and Disorders Department collaborates with the Psychology Department at ISU, giving students from both disciplines direct experience with interdepartmental and multidisciplinary partnerships. Psychology students acquire experience with language development and communication functions while speech pathology graduate students gain valuable knowledge and insight regarding applied behavior analysis theories and techniques. This unique opportunity offers students from different disciplines the chance to work together collaboratively while providing a valuable service for the community.

For more information, contact The Autism Program at Illinois State University


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