Kira Burton | Staff Writer | [email protected]
Most people know someone who is affected by autism. UVU is now offering extended studies in autism to any students who are interested.
As of fall 2014, Utah Valley University offers students the choice of an autism studies minor. This minor is available to any students who are interested and can apply as a minor to many different majors.
“It’s really nice because it’s truly interdisciplinary,” said Teresa Cardon, director of autism studies at UVU.
This new program will eventually include an autism center. Although there is not a specific date for it yet, Cardon says that the projected date for the center is sometime in the next 18-24 months. This center will offer a place for the community to learn more about autism while at the same time, allow students who are taking these classes a hands-on learning experience on campus.
“The center for autism will be for students and community,” said Cardon. “Think of it as the educational hub for learning about autism for the community,”
Before two and a half years ago, UVU didn’t have an autism program. Now, there will not only be a curriculum and minor, there will be a physical center.
According to the government CDC website, Utah has an elevated rate of autism. 1 of 54 kids in Utah has autism, compared to the national rate of 1 of 68. That’s a jump from about 1.5 percent of children who have autism nationally to about 1.9 percent in Utah. UVU offers courses that help students better understand and help those affected by it since the rates in the state are so much higher.
Any community members or students interested in this program can contact Teresa Cardon at [email protected].