Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Medical school launches online course for parents of children with autism

May 26, 2013

WORCESTER — When a child is diagnosed with autism, traditional baby books go out the window, and parents are left bewildered, scared and overwhelmed. Nearly one in 50 school-age children has a diagnosis of some form of autism, a diagnosis that can be very isolating for parents.

In response to the need for education about autism and resources for helping children and families with the disorder, the University of Massachusetts Medical School's Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center has produced an online course that helps parents understand behavioral intervention, an evidence-based program designed to help people with autism.

"The need for education is so great," said Maura Buckley, the program manager. "We have all these experts here at UMass and at the Shriver Center, as well as the technology, and we were able to put them together to create this self-paced course."

The course is available at udiscovering.org. Monthly, quarterly and annual subscriptions are available.

"The course starts when parents receive a diagnosis, and we explain what is autism," Mrs. Buckley said. "We then moved on to what is ABA (applied behavioral analysis), and we talk about managing challenging behavior, social skills and involving parents in the care of their child, and what goes on during the day while their child is at school.

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