UAB receives grant to better serve those with autism spectrum disorder in central Alabama

Alabama Interagency Autism Coordinating Council has established regional networks throughout Alabama to centralize resources for those with autism spectrum disorder, and for their families.

2016 Autism map Alabama countiesOne of three Alabama Regional Autism Networks has opened at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Civitan-Sparks Clinics to empower persons af all ages and all levels of functioning who have an autism spectrum disorder, as well as their families.

The UAB Civitan-Sparks Clinics were awarded a $75,000 grant to establish the network at UAB that will serve central Alabama by providing connections to resources for those with ASD, and for their families, technical assistance, and consultation services, as well as ASD-education programs to the general public and professional training. 

“These network centers are a key step in developing a system of care for people with ASD and their families throughout Alabama,” said Fred J. Biasini, Ph.D., director of the UAB Civitan-Sparks Clinics in the UAB Department of Pediatrics, and associate professor in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology. “In working with Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, we will be able to provide additional resources and promote meaningful public awareness for those with ASD.”

The new Alabama Regional Autism Network, or ARAN, is consistent with and complements the ASD training mission of the UAB Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopment and Related Disabilities and Alabama’s University Center of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities, led by Sarah O’Kelley, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and chair of the Alabama Autism Providers Network. It also enhances the training and consultation opportunities within the UAB Department of Pediatrics by building upon existing connections across campus and in the community with an emphasis in ASD, including ongoing work in various schools and departments at UAB and Children’s of Alabama.

ARANs will play an important role in ensuring a foundation built on evidence-based practices and connecting those resources to the people who need them. A constituency board made up of people with ASD and their families will help guide ARANs as they continue to develop, helping to ensure those served may enjoy meaningful and successful lives.

“The Alabama Interagency Autism Coordinating Council established the ARANs as part of the overall strategic plan of care and guide a collaborative effort to facilitate a lifelong system of care and support for persons with an ASD or associated condition and their families, to further enrich their lives, ” said Anna McConnell, coordinator of the AIACC.