NFAR is pleased to announce their 2010/2011 Community Project grantees. “Each one of these programs represents great learning opportunities for those with autism from early intervention and job training efforts to helping middle and high school teens learn to make friends,” says NFAR Executive Director Sharon Leon. “And, more than half of the seven projects funded include a community outreach component that will also increase understanding and long range opportunities for our kids with autism.”
After reviewing a record number of applications this year, NFAR’s Community Project Grants is awarding the following programs:
- PEERS Program (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills) by the Center for Autism Research, Evaluation and Service Foundation (CARES Foundation). The PEERS program is a 14-week evidence-based social skills intervention for teens of middle and high school designed to help teens build – and keep – friendships. Initially conducted by UCLA, the program showed evidence of statistically significant improvement in social skills.
- North County Staff Development by Community Coaching Center (CCC). NFAR is further supporting the recent addition of CCC’s community-based social behavior program to North San Diego County with funding support for staff development and community inclusion efforts. CCC schedules community outings for an average of 25-35 children every day and will be able to serve up to an additional 50 school-aged children with autism at their new location.
- Training Workplace Communication Skills for Individuals with ASD in Supported Employment by Crimson Speech Language Treatment & Research Center. Many families and individuals with autism hope to pursue vocational opportunities in the workplace but often lack the communication and social skills preferred by employers to be successful. NFAR is supporting the Crimson Speech Language Treatment & Research Center’s efforts to develop a training program designed to strengthen specific receptive and expressive communication skills for young adults seeking supported workplace positions.
- The P.L.A.Y. Project (Play and Language for Autism Youngsters) by the Floortime Coalition of California. Using a DIR/Floortime approach, this project will train parents and professionals in the underserved area of Imperial County to deliver intensive developmental interventions for young children “at-risk” for autism. Designed to train and empower parents, this model gives parents a roadmap for how to manage daily challenges through home consultations, trainings and support groups. NFAR will fund the research portion of this large project.
- Alta Murrieta Rtl Learning Center. The mission of the Rtl Learning Center is to provide instructional interventions that allow for the most inclusive learning environment possible. NFAR has agreed to fund some of the more expensive reading comprehension programs needed by the Learning Center.
- Goldmine Inclusive Theatre Arts/Life Skills Workshops by the Positive Action Community Theatre (PACT). Goldmine Inclusive Theatre Arts/Life Skills Workshops are designed to teach self-esteem, cooperation, creativity and empowerment to teens and young adults with autism. These inclusive workshops (PACT offers four 8-week programs each year) aim to help individuals discover and express their creative talents as well as develop friendships with their peers through the performing arts.
- Early Identification and Treatment for Infants At-Risk for ASD in Spanish Speaking Families by the Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) at the University of California. An expansion of a 2009 grant, the project works with 150 pediatricians across San Diego to identify infants that may be at-risk for autism beginning as early as 12 months of age, tracking their progress as they develop. Families with a child that continues to present at-risk behaviors are offered critical early intervention services, as well as parent training. Research indicates that early interventions are key to improving outcomes for at-risk children.