Adrienne Akers receives CPD Alumni of the Year award

Adrienne Akers moved to Logan in the early 70s, bringing with her a degree in physical therapy and no interest in working with children.

That changed when she got a job with the new Exceptional Child Center in 1973 (now the Center for Persons with Disabilities). She began a career that lasted through shifts in disability policy and two name changes at her workplace. Now the Center for Persons with Disabilities has given her the 2009 CPD Alumni of the Year award. read more

CPD by the numbers

During the first half of the fiscal year, 10 preschool children with autism spectrum disorders participated in the ASSERT program. An additional 34 children diagnosed with autism disorders attended the ABC classroom at the CPD.

Summit participants Megan Farley of Utah and Wendy Thomas of North Dakota at the Region 8 summit.

Act Early Summit brings autism stakeholders together

Stakeholders from five different states gathered in Salt Lake City in March to discuss issues surrounding autism spectrum disorder.

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities' Act Early Region VIII Summit brought in professionals, educators, parents, policymakers and advocates who represent different regions and different points of view. The event was hosted by Utah State University's Center for Persons with Disabilities.

It was the first summit of its kind in a six-state region that includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

"Getting together with people who have a general, common goal is always beneficial," said George Wootton, a family nurse practitioner at the CPD who attended the summit. "The dialog is good, and it gets people thinking."

During the summit, national organizations and federal agencies that deal with issues surrounding ASD shared information with state teams. Later, presenters from Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming reported on their states' plans to improve the outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorder. The Center for Persons with Disabilities will continue to coordinate the achievement of Utah's objectives.

In Utah, the statewide plan for ASD is broken into these goals:

Increase public awareness;
Encourage earlier screening and diagnosis of ASD;
Bridge socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic and geographic disparities to ensure all families have equal access to a broad array of services;
Increase awareness of available training and technical assistance.

The Center for Persons with Disabilities is involved in implementing activities that will help bring about these goals, through the Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program and the Utah state Implementation ASD grant with the Department of Health. The CPD has begun surveying medical offices to find out how and when they screen for ASD. In addition, the center will coordinate with ongoing programs to increase public awareness on autism issues.

The CPD also hosted the summit, which is part of the Act Early campaign launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For a look at materials presented in the Salt Lake meeting, visit the Act Early Region VIII Summit webpage on the AUCD site.

For more information, contact URLEND Director Judith Holt at 797-7157.

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