The Florida State University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (FSU-CARD) is a state funded agency that provides services to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, including Asperger’s Syndrome, and Dual Sensory Impairments.
These services are available to clients and families as well as to schools and community agencies that serve our clients. Services provided for schools are designed to increase understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders or Dual Sensory Impairments and to provide individualized, direct consultative support.
FSU-CARD services are free of charge and are offered upon direct request. Efforts are made to respond to requests in a timely manner. Due to funding and staff limitations, however, wait lists may be necessary. Making requests in advance whenever possible is recommended. Additionally, FSU-CARD recognizes the value of teaming and consistency in addressing the individual needs of our clients across environments as well as the importance of guided practice of strategies learned through training. As a result, specific requirements in these areas will be made for more advanced and individualized levels of services.
A summary of FSU-CARD services is provided below. Specific questions related to these services or requests can be directed to the Autism Consultant assigned to your school.
School Staff Training
- An overview of Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome can be provided to schools that are interested in increasing staff understanding of this disability and are willing to commit to adequate participation (a minimum of 20 attendees). This presentation requires a time commitment of 2-3 hours and is appropriate for all school staff. Expected outcomes include an increased understanding of this disability, the potential impact of the disability on school performance and/or behavior, and general guidelines for effective classroom strategies. Registration is required. An Autism Overview will also be available on DVD and on the FSU-CARD Website in the near future.
- Higher Level trainings may be offered periodically by FSU-CARD staff. This level of training includes more specific information related to educational and treatment strategies. Topics at this level are developed based upon identified school needs. Examples include, but are not limited to, strategies to increase social skills, positive behavioral interventions, visual strategies, academic accommodations, etc. Trainings at this level might require a commitment by participants to attend a 3 to 5-part series and to complete related activities specific to an individual student. This level of training can also be accessed through the consultative process. (See Consultative services below.)
Other Training Opportunities
- Several Department of Education (DOE) Regional Trainings are offered by FSU-CARD each year. These trainings typically consist of a day-long workshop and feature a nationally recognized speaker. These trainings are funded through DOE and are free of charge.
- Each year FSU-CARD sponsors the FSU Training Institute on Autism. The week-long institute features presentations by leaders in the autism field on a variety of topics. There is a charge to attend the institute. The Department of Education supports the Training Institute by providing funding to school districts to help defray costs. Interested school personnel can request assistance through their school district, the FSU Autism Project (http://autismproject.fsu.edu), or other agencies.
- Annually, the CARD Centers offer a statewide conference for families and educators. This conference is typically held in January in Tampa, Orlando, West Palm Beach, or Miami.
- School personnel can access their FSU-CARD Autism Consultant by phone or email to discuss issues related to Autism or to a specific student. Email or phone contacts provide for periodic opportunities to brainstorm issues that arise and ideas for strategies or accommodations to address them.
- In-depth consultations can be requested by school and home teams by completing a FSU-CARD Autism Consultation Request Form. This level of consultation is designed to provide teams an opportunity for more intensive consultative assistance from a FSU-CARD Autism Consultant. In an effort to increase consistency and teaming as well as efficiency, FSU-CARD requires that these consultations actively involve a parent or guardian as well as one or more school staff who work directly with the student. Consultation goals are determined based upon the needs of the individual student and situation. Goals may include, but are not limited to, behavioral interventions, classroom accommodations, visual supports, social skill development, etc. The duration of a consultation is individualized but generally consists of 3 or more team meetings and implementation of activities that are assigned to team members and the FSU-CARD Autism Consultant. An Action Plan will be developed by the team to document the goal(s) of the consultation, team member action steps, and target dates.