Less than a decade ago, autism wasn’t on many people’s radar. The 1988 movie “Rainman” was popular culture’s primary reference for it, which isn’t a bad thing: Dustin Hoffman’s Ray put a sympathetic face on the disorder, but autism didn’t yet resonate with people on a daily basis. Back then it was diagnosed at about 1 in 10,000 children. Now it’s 1 in 68.With the growing need for services, three educators at the University of Montana have spearheaded and implemented programs and projects, including the Children’s Autism Waiver, that aim for autism intervention from infancy through adulthood. By applying cutting-edge research and interdisciplinary approaches, the educators hope to make real-world impacts on Montana communities, as well as provide practical experience for UM students in the field.And, already, they’re seeing promising results.
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