FEAT gifts to help children with autism develop social skills

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FEAT gifts to help children with autism develop social skills

Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) issued two gifts of $25,000 each in the past week to support autism treatment at Fresno State’s Central California Autism Center and Speech and Hearing Clinic.

The gift to the autism center will support its Enrichment Program, which focuses on helping children with a diagnosis along the autism spectrum develop social skills through music, art and sports.

“The funds we get for operation allow us to run on a daily basis. We wouldn’t have the ability for additional programs without gifts like this,” said Dr. Amanda Adams, director of the Central California Autism Center.

FEAT’s gift to the Speech and Hearing Clinic will help fund improvements in the way families observe evaluation and treatment of clients with autism. Upgrades will include a new audio and video system as well as iPads for student clinicians, said Jody Hironaka-Juteau, interim dean of the College of Health and Human Services. The Speech and Hearing Clinic currently serves 85 clients ranging from ages 3 to 83.

“I am so grateful for the hard work and dedication of our friends at FEAT,” said Dr. Christine Maul, assistant professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies. “We look forward to improving and expanding our services to children and adults with autism, to continue acting as a resource to their families and to providing the best training possible to prepare our students to work with this very worthy population.”

The checks were presented by FEAT-Fresno/Madera County President Paul Lambert and Vice President Chuck Genseal, who each have family members with autism. FEAT is a non-profit organization of parents, educators and others dedicated to providing world-class education, advocacy and support for the central California autism community.

This is not the first time FEAT has supported autism treatment and research at Fresno State. Overall, FEAT has gifted $115,000 to university programs, including $90,000 to the autism center.

“The Central California Autism Center has grown phenomenally, not just because of our gift but because of the center’s interest in advancing the treatment of autism,” Genseal said. “The experts here are doing this so children in the area can have services.”

The autism center, located in Fresno State’s Kremen School of Education and Human Development, currently serves 43 children ranging from 18 months to 12 years of age.

“We are extremely grateful for the partnership and support that FEAT has provided,” said Susan Elrod, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. “Their gift will enable the autism center to continue to advance its programs in treatment and research to help children with autism live healthier and happier lives.”

For more information, contact Dr. Amanda Adams at 559.278.6773 and Dr. Christine Maul at 559.278.3938.

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