Education to Expand Throughout State
MELBOURNE, FLA. — The Scott Center for Autism Treatment at the Florida Institute of Technology, along with the Brazilian state of Paraná, launched the Autism Training Program this week. The two-year partnership involves online training modules and face-to-face training in Brazil for people who work with autism and other developmental disabilities, created by experts at the Scott Center.
Over the first six months of the agreement, the Scott Center will develop a set of online training modules for use in Paraná. The following 18 months will be spent training approximately 300 individuals throughout four cities in the Brazilian state.
In what the Scott Center calls the “Train the Trainer” model, Paraná will select the trainees for the lessons. After two years, those trained will be able to instruct others in the state, as Paraná looks to gradually expand the program to all 399 municipalities.
At the signing ceremony in Brazil with Paraná Governor Cida Borghetti, Florida Tech President Dwayne McCay noted the significance of the agreement for the state of autism training, Paraná and the university.
“This is a momentous time for the state of Paraná and the Florida Institute of Technology,” McCay said. “Through our work with the State Department of Health, we are gratified to play an important role in better serving families of those with autism.”
Part of the agreement includes producing videos that are culturally sensitive, delivered by a native Portuguese speaker. With the goal of making instruction comfortable for those learning, the Scott Center is committed to the region, utilizing people who grew up in the country for the training, McCay said.
Paraná’s partnership with the Scott Center came as part of a grassroots effort in the state to improve service delivery of autism treatment. Amanda Bueno, a Paraná resident and student in Florida Tech’s Applied Behavior Analysis program, made the Scott Center aware of a partnership opportunity for autism services. Over the course of about a year, Scott Center Executive Director Michael E. Kelley and Bueno worked on the services the center could offer the state, which were reviewed by Paraná’s governor and secretary of health. The agreement was completed, with the goal of better preparing autism treatment specialists.
The partnership signifies another connection between Florida Tech and countries abroad. The university seeks to strengthen this relationship with Brazil to establish further growth in the future. With 25 other states in the country, the Scott Center is eager to support treatment for autism on a wider scale, Kelley said.
“The need for services for autism is universal,” Kelley said. “Autism doesn’t discriminate based on age, race, creed, socioeconomic status; the rates are the same, no matter who you are anywhere on this planet.”
The Scott Center has gained international attention for its work not only in clinical treatment of autism, but also in published research of the treatment for the condition, which has been read and used around the world to improve the lives of those affected. The Scott Center has a goal of becoming an international model of excellence, with relationships with organizations in the United Arab Emirates, Italy, and now Brazil.
“We have the opportunity, given technology and the mission of the university, in a broader sense, to reach the entire world,” Kelley said.
The Scott Center was created in 2009 with funding from Ed and Cheryl Scott. Their son, Reece, was diagnosed with autism in the 1990s. There was little information and few services at that time for children with autism spectrum disorder. Reece overcame many challenges with the support of his parents, teachers and therapists. As a result of their experience with their son, the Scotts funded the creation of the Scott Center.