Fresno St unveils new online autism tool

FRESNO, Calif.

One in every 88 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That makes autism more prevalent than juvenile diabetes, pediatric cancer and childhood aids combined.

But thanks to a new online program called SKILLS, teachers, parents and practitioners at the Central California Autism Center at Fresno State can better assess and treat the disorder in children and young adults.

"One of the great things about the skills program is that it's a resource we can use with the therapy that we've already been providing," Melissa Altamirano of the Central California Autism Center said.

Therapy such as an individualized treatment program to address a patient's unique needs.

"There's people who live in remote areas, who have no services, who don't have access to any type of training dealing with kids who have deficits, so what it really does is it brings this wealth of experience and knowledge and assessments and lessons to people who otherwise wouldn't be able to get that treatment," Merrick Williams of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders said.

Here's how it works: choose your child, open up the questionnaire about their specific skills, knowledge and behavior. Next, select the activities you'd like to work on with the child.

Then open up one of the more than 4 thousand individualized lesson plans and get to work.

Fresno State currently has 40 children enrolled in a pilot program to track their progress and so far the university is pleased with the results.

"Our grad students are the supervisors for the actual cases so they're the ones that will be taking that information and developing the protocols for each of our children. The undergrad students are the ones working one-on-one. They'll be inputting that data." 24:59 so their both going to be using it in different capacities," Altamirano said.

Students helping students with new technology at their fingertips.

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