CSUF Center Harnesses Student, Faculty Involvement to Help O.C. Autism Community

A team of experienced faculty and enthusiastic students lies at the heart of Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Autism, tapping into a network of community services and advocates to provide a resource for children and adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Orange County and the Inland Empire.

“One aspect that makes our center unique is that our three co-directors come from backgrounds in education, clinical psychology and developmental psychology. These three perspectives complement each other well, and we are each very passionate about our areas of interest and about applying our expertise to help individuals with ASD and their families,” said Jason Baker, assistant professor of child and adolescent studies and one of the co-directors of the center.

With state-high rates of children diagnosed with ASD driving a steady increase in autism-related services, CSUF’s Center for Autism seeks to be an added link and resource within the autism community in Orange County. That community includes organizations and other university autism centers.

Since it was established in 2013, the center has received some university funding for specific research projects and partnerships with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County and the UCI Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders of Southern California. However, the center is mainly powered by CSUF faculty in the College of Education and the College of Health and Human Development’s Department of Child and Adolescent Studies; along with student volunteers and a surge of campus interest in autism advocacy, care and research.

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