JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Children with autism now have more tools to help them learn behavioral skills to transition into mainstream classes.
The Mississippi Autism Board and the Behavior Analysis Association of Mississippi announced classes that are equipping teachers with the skills to become Registered Behavior Technicians. The news was shared Tuesday at the State Capitol.
The courses will help teacher bring children with autism and other developmental disorders out of their shells.
“A huge appreciation to Holmes Community College and William Carey for establishing our first registered behavior tech programs in the state,” said MS Autism Board incoming Chair Dr. Kasee Stratton during the announcement.
The courses, the only program of its kind in the country, are for teachers in elementary school.
Marie Lane is a second and third grade special education teacher at Grenada Elementary School. She is a recipient of the Hosemann Family Foundation scholarship for Registered Behavioral Therapy.
“Most of the children that come into my classroom have behavior issues that the normal teacher just can’t deal with because they haven’t been trained,” explained Lane. “This class helped train me how to be able to work with my students to make them productive students in the school."
“He went from a vocabulary of 15 words to now he’s in a main stream first grade classroom,” said Laura Beth Johnson, the mother of an autistic eight year old. “All because of this therapy. All because of these people that are trying to make lives better for children with autism.”
“All we want for him is to be independent and be able to live a life like everybody else, and so these professionals will give him the skills and help provide that for him,” said Lazaire Martin whose 13 year old is autistic.
The Hosemann Family Foundation offered 20 scholarships to Mississippi educators. Delbert Hosemann and wife Lynn have a grandchild with autism.
They started the foundation after discovering that there were few people qualified to teach children with autism in the Jackson metro area.
“It was important to us to have these elementary teachers have this kind of training,” said Delbert Hosemann. “There’ll be 20 teacher in the fall as well. our goal is to do 40 teacher a year and spread them all over Mississippi”.
Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi are also launching Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s programs.