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Sacramento State Campus

FOCUS ON: Autism Center for Excellence

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Sacramento State is working with United Cerebral Palsy to help children with autism develop social skills.

(Narrator:) This is “Focus” from the campus of Sacramento State.

(Voice) “Ready...there you go....”

(Jim Finnerty reporting:) In a unique program with United Cerebral Palsy, Sacramento State is assisting youngsters with autism.

(Scott Modell, Sacramento State professor:) “Skills that may come automatically for typically developing children have to be taught in children with autism.”

(Finnerty:) Autism is a neurological-based disorder often marked by deficits in communication and social interaction.

(Clarissa Carbullido, Sacramento State A.C.E staff:) “Kids at the very first week will be very to themselves not wanting to go play with other kids, and as the weeks progress, you really do see more interaction.”

(Finnerty:) University students use a variety of techniques to facilitate social development and foster language skills; progress through play.

(Emilio Lira, program participant:) “It’s good, and it has lots of activities, and you can play outside.”

(Finnerty:) Parents say they can see the difference after just a few weeks.

(Lynette Fong, program parent:) “He’s much more interactive and responsive to questions in the social home environment.”

(Jeri Krajewski, program parent:) “He knows he’s different, and he is really happy right now, and you know he feels like he’s succeeding.”

(Finnerty:) Students say working with the youngsters is a win-win situation.

(Barton Firch, Sacramento State A.C.E staff:) “I’m giving back even though I’m earning units. I can maintain my course load and still volunteer.”

(Finnerty:) Dr. Modell is hoping to enroll more youngsters 8 through 12 who can benefit from the program here.

(Modell:) It helps the community be more aware of autism needs. We’re also providing a work force that is sensitive to the needs of individuals with autism and also has the skills to work with those individuals.”

(Finnerty:) This is Jim Finnerty reporting.

(Narrator:) For more information on this and other news from Sacramento State, visit our website.

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