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For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 11, 2002
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106

$1.8 Million in Federal Grants Awarded to Aid Autism Instruction and Awareness

MALDEN - Autistic students in more than 50 communities across the state will benefit from a $1.8 million federal grant program designed to aid students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

“Exploring the Options for Children with Autism” will provide selected school districts and educational collaboratives with up to $75,000 each year over the next three years to build understanding of ASD for students, families and all school personnel through training and ongoing technical assistance.

The Massachusetts Board of Education approved the 26 grants at their monthly meeting in June. In all, 91 applications were filed for the grant.

“The rising number of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Massachusetts has created an educational and fiscal challenge for our schools,” said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll. “This new program will not only help us address the needs of students affected by this disorder, but help us educate teachers and other students on how to deal with its impact.”

ASD include a variety of diagnoses, including autism, Asperger’s Sundrome, Pervasive Developmental Delay Not Otherwise Specified, Rhetts Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.

Nationally, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as many as one in 500 children have been diagnosed with some type of ASD. And national statistics show that more children with ASD are heading to public schools. According to the Department of Public Health, early intervention programs that specialize in providing services to infants and toddlers with ASD saw a dramatic increase in the population they serve. In 2001, 628 children were being served, up from just 340 in 1999, the specialized program’s first year of service.

ACCEPT Education Collaborative $75,000
Adams-Cheshire Regional School District 75,000
Athol-Royalston Regional School District 8,000
Bi-County Collaborative 75,000
Brockton Public Schools 75,000
Everett Public Schools 75,000
Fitchburg Public Schools 75,000
Greenfield Public Schools 75,000
Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District 75,000
Leominster Public Schools 75,000
Longmeadow Public Schools 75,000
Lowell Public Schools 75,000
Marblehead Public Schools 66,000
Martha's Vineyard Regional School District 69,000
Methuen Public Schools 75,000
Middleton Public Schools 75,000
North River Collaborative75,000
Northampton Public Schools 75,000
Northborough-Southborough Regional School District 75,000
Old Rochester Regional School District 75,000
Project SPOKE Collaborative 72,895
SEEM Collaborative 75,000
Shore Collaborative 75,000
Springfield Public Schools 75,000
Tyngsboro Public Schools 75,000
Worcester Public Schools 75,000

Last Updated: July 11, 2002
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