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Archived News: Across Virginia
March 2012

April Recognized as Autism Awareness Month in VA

Governor Robert F. McDonnell has signed a Certificate of Recognition acknowledging April 2012 as Autism Awareness month in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Certificate of Recognition states:

By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution in the Governor of theCommonwealth of Virginia, there is hereby officially recognized.
WHEREAS, the health and safety of all Virginians is important to the happiness, prosperity and well-being of our Commonwealth’s families and communities; and
WHEREAS, autism spectrum disorders are a form of developmental disability that usually manifest before the age of three and affect social interactions, communication and behavior; and
WHEREAS, autism spectrum disorders occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups; and
WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that on average, children in the United States have an autism spectrum disorder as often as 1 in 110, and in 2011, the Virginia Department of Education identified 11,703 children between the ages of 3 and 21 as having an autism spectrum disorder; and
WHEREAS, the prevalence of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders now surpasses that of childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and Down syndrome combined, and is continuing to increase by a startling 10 — 17 percent every year according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Health; and
WHEREAS, early intervention significantly improves outcomes for children with autism so that they have more productive and independent lives; and
WHEREAS, it is fitting to raise awareness of the global health crisis of autism, stress the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention, and to celebrate the unique talents and qualities of individuals with autism;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert F. McDonnell, do hereby recognize April 2012 as AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of our citizens.


International Attention Given to Loudoun County Schools NPDC Grant Implementation

Loudoun County Public Schools, in collaboration with the VDOE Region 4 T-TAC, recently hosted international visitors from Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia to learn a process for implementing evidenced based practices (EBPs) for students with autism as developed by the National Professional Development Center (NPDC) in Autism Spectrum Disorders. One of three divisions initially selected within the Commonwealth, Loudoun County Schools is in year two of successful implementation of an NPDC grant. Loudoun County Autism Program Specialist, Rosemarie McGuinness, says of the division’s involvement in the grant. “This process has given us a systematic and comprehensive training tool for implementing evidence-based practices and ensuring the fidelity of these practices with our staff. We have seen positive outcomes with our students as a result of using this process.” Guests were able to observe multiple classrooms where the NPDC process, including program quality measures, EBP resources, and coaching tools, is being used and to examine data displaying the significant positive student outcomes that have resulted. With the launch of the VDOE VCU Autism Center for Excellence (VCU-ACE) and expansion of technical assistance available, more school divisions throughout the state have been able to access and utilize the NPDC model. For more information about NPDC and the resources it offers, click here.


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