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22
Apr

Working Together to Support Autism Programs at EMU: Improving One Life at a Time

Category: Alumni & Friends | Author:

For many years, the Autism Collaborative Center (ACC) within the College of Health and Human Services at Eastern Michigan University has been providing services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), their families and the community. The ACC provides services to individuals of all ages and abilities, by offering a full range of innovative, multidisciplinary, on-site therapeutic and diagnostic services. The impact that the ACC has on its clients is invaluable.

Brennan and one of his counselor's working on one of his therapies.

Brennan having fun on the playground with Occupational Therapist (OT) Marta Muusz and OT student Charles Kuder Jr!

Brian and Megan Wirtz’s son Brennan started receiving services at the ACC when he was three years old. He was nonverbal, had limited independence skills, and struggled with motor skills and motor planning. Much of the initial stress that comes with an autism diagnosis was alleviated when Brennan’s parents observed the care and compassion that the ACC staff had for their son, and when they heard these three words from the clinicians working with Brennan, “We can help.” Through the years, Brennan actively participated in applied behavioral analysis, speech therapy, and occupational therapy services through the ACC. His parents have been kept heavily involved in their son’s treatment goals and treatment plans. They are happy to report that Brennan is becoming an independent, confident, and more recently, a talkative little boy. The Wirtz family is very grateful for “Team Brennan” at the ACC, and they celebrate Brennan’s amazing progress every day.

In addition to supporting early intervention therapies at the ACC, the College of Health and Human Services also supports a program that provides services to young adults on the autism spectrum that are degree seeking students at EMU. This program is the College Supports Program (CSP); students enrolled in the CSP are intellectually capable yet need intensive supports to manage the transition to college, to manage the daily university experience and expectations, and to be prepared for life beyond college. Students in the CSP can receive support in academics, accommodations, independent living, healthy living, and social skills. Recently the CSP organized the Green March for Autism Acceptance. Approximately 100 students, faculty and administrators participated. Sean Handler, an EMU Creative Writing student states “It feels really good to be accepted for who I am. I’ve made so many friends on campus who have accepted me. They don’t mind that I am autistic, they embrace it.”

CHHS is proud to be associated with the success of the Autism Collaborative Center and the College Supports Program. Our faculty, students, and staff continue to play an integral role in assuring that those receiving these important services are treated with the utmost respect.

Funds for The Autism Collaborative Center provide general operating support as wells as classroom activities; these include sensory play goods, physical activity items and learning toys. To make a gift please click the button below:

Make a gift to the ACC!

Funds for the College Supports Program provide general operating support improving one life at a time. To make a gift please click on the button below:

Make a gift to the CSP!

Discuss this article

  • Joan Brewer

    I had the pleasure and honor of observing Brennan in this wonderful place when I went with his grandmother to pick him up. We went early so I could see what goes on in Brennan’s world. This is a place of hope and miracles, of respect and caring, of hard work and accomplishment. It is so impressive. I wish that all children and families who deal with autism had this program available to them. Watching Brennan develop in this program is a joy.

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