Utah State University’s ASSERT program was recently awarded the Autism Council of Utah’s educational “Autism Program of the Year” award at the council’s biannual meeting at the Utah State Capitol.
The ASSERT program, directed by assistant professor Thomas Higbee, provides educational and behavioral early intervention to children with autism, through its model classroom and by training teachers and professionals throughout the state.
Higbee and his ASSERT program staff were recognized for their initiative in helping individuals with autism and for the successful results of their efforts, which have brought about positive changes in autism services.
“We are honored the Autism Council recognized our efforts at Utah State University,” said Carol Strong, dean of the College of Education and Human Services. “Dr. Higbee’s vision is making a great difference in Utah school districts.”
Higbee echoed the sentiments of the Autism Council about the positive impact being made by the ASSERT program.
“We’re excited about the changes in the lives of these students, and also the training we’ve been able to provide for educators working with children with autism across the state,” Higbee said.
The Autism Council of Utah is an independent council whose goal is to promote access to resources and responsible information for individuals of all ages who have, or are affected by autism. The Council supports statewide partnerships to collaborate on research, training and special projects.
Higbee said autism is the fastest growing disability in the United States. It affects one out of every 166 children, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. He said he wants the program to expand to include more Utah school districts.
For more information regarding the “Autism Program of the Year” award or the ASSERT program at USU, contact Joslyn Olsen by phone at 435-881-1546 or go to the Web site