Since the beginning of our journey in 2007, we realized that it is simply not enough to be technologically well-equipped to be able to provide the best services to the autism community. Put another way, individuals and families living with autism need a comforting assurance from people who know autism inside out, and who have hands-on experience working with individuals on the spectrum.
So we decided to team up with parents, teachers, experts, BCBA professionals, public policymakers, and researchers to give wings to our dreams. For the past few years, we have been closely working with:
- Parents who have accurate knowledge of what children with autism need
- Teachers who are familiar with the challenges faced by school districts
- Experts who help us develop and customize app content in accordance with the varied learning needs of people with autism
- BCBA professionals who provide ABA services and are well aware of the nitty-gritty of early autism intervention
- Public policymakers who are responsible for bringing changes in the way autism is managed and funded
- Researchers who probe into the mysteries of autism and come up with new findings
Learning and improvement through partnership
Eden Autism Services
Founded in 1975, not-for-profit Eden Autism Services was among the first to provide a wide range of science-based services to children and adults with autism through early intervention, 3 to 21 education, employment, adult residential, and consultative programs employing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). With a national prevalence rate of 1 in 88 births (1 in 49 in New Jersey), autism is the third most common developmental disability. Recognized nationally, Eden is a leader in working with individuals who have the most challenging behavioral and cognitive deficits. Eden’s outreach department offers support and training for families and professionals and has made available for purchase the Eden assessment and curriculum, available in print and online (ELMS: Eden’s Learning Management System), which is comprised of nearly 40 years of clinical experience.
For more information, visit www.edenautism.org or call (609) 987-0099.
Eden Assessment and Curriculum The Eden Autism Assessment provides educators and therapists with a tool that allows for accurate assessment of a student’s current abilities and skill levels. This assessment identifies the student’s strengths and weaknesses, assists with goal selection, tracks progress, and makes it easy to convert the assessment into concrete IEP goals.
Eden’s curriculum is a comprehensive series of teaching programs designed to provide valuable resources to allow professionals and parents to effectively teach students with autism. The Autism Assessment and Curriculum Series showcases the collective experience of Eden’s faculty during the past 37 years.
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Working in teams and pooling their talents, students of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) are inventing technologies that could improve the quality of life for millions. They are also forming start-up companies to market their potentially revolutionary technologies.
The teams belong to the Interdisciplinary Design Studio (IDS) – a new program that transforms students into innovative entrepreneurs. Starting as freshmen, the students take specialized classes that hone their technology and management skills. The IDS students work collaboratively – usually in teams of four – and use NJIT labs to do their research. Professors and industry advisers ensure that the students’ technologies are commercially viable.
In the spring of 2011, Atam Dhawan founded the Interdisciplinary Design Studio to give the honors students a chance to do independent research with an interesting twist.
IDS aimed to teach students, starting as freshmen, not only about how to research new technologies but also about how to create business plans that proved there was a market for such technologies. After four years in IDS, the students would be skilled enough to form their own start-up companies through which to sell their technologies. Or upon graduation they could take corporate jobs, where their IDS training would help them become top managers and leaders. It was a grand vision, but no one knew if IDS would succeed.
IDS Textured Original Invention (TOI) AutisMind, a four-member IDS team, is designing a smart toy that will interact with autistic children while analyzing their cognitive abilities. The basic purpose of the therapeutic device, which is called Textured Original Invention (TOI), is to stimulate the minds of children with autism by tapping their senses. The toy will be equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) technologies as well as RFID cards. Effectively, the device will be able to track the progress of a child by evaluating the responsiveness of his/her answer. TOI will also allow for individualization, depending on specific learning needs of each child.
IDS Teams WebTeam CEO Nish Parikh, who is the chief architect of the Colors Program, is mentoring the Autismind team. Once the toy is developed, NJIT and WTC will collaboratively run a feasibility trial at a research facility before making it commercially available.
The Institute for the Study of Child Development
The Institute for the Study of Child Development is a research center within the Department of Pediatrics at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Directed by Dr. Michael Lewis, the Institute’s faculty is comprised of psychologists, educators, and other professionals interested in understanding and facilitating the development of children and their families.
The Institute for the Study of Child Development has as its goal the understanding of the processes leading to healthy children. Good health involves emotional, social, and psychological functioning, as well as physical well-being. For a complete understanding of child health, research is necessary at all levels of functioning, from molecular processes to the whole child, as well as the environmental context in which the child is raised. Ultimately, this will lead to innovative interventions that will benefit children in their everyday lives. The Institute seeks to understand individual children through studying normal and atypical development patterns. The guiding model of development is that an organism’s characteristics are a function of an interaction between the environment and behavior, and that behavioral expression is always in the service of adaptation to the environment. As children mature from infancy into childhood and adolescence, identifying possible paths of growth and the factors that influence them, will help physicians, educators, and parents understand and best serve the developing individual.