CSU, Chico News

Federal Grant to Train Students to Help Children With Autism

Date: 10-20-2011

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico has received a $250,000 federal grant to train students in adapted physical education that can benefit autistic children.

The U.S. Department of Education grant was part of $11.5 million awarded to colleges and universities to improve services for children with disabilities. It is funded through the federal Office of Special Education Programs.

CSU, Chico’s Research Foundation will manage the new grant, which is titled Training and Research in Autism and Collaboration for Kinesiology. The nonprofit Research Foundation, incorporated in 1997 as an auxiliary to the University, manages more than 600 grant and contract accounts each year, many staffed by student and faculty researchers.

Rebecca Lytle, chair of the Department of Kinesiology, said a majority of the grant will go to help students complete their training in adapted physical education with an added emphasis in autism training. Adapted physical education is physical education which may be adapted or modified to address the individualized needs of children and youth who have developmental delays.

Lytle said the funding will support eight full-time students and eight summer students each year for five years. Full-time students will receive a stipend, funds for books and funds for travel to professional conferences. Part-time students will get a small stipend to defray the cost of the summer coursework.

Because of the new grant, CSU, Chico will attract students from out of state and aid students who might otherwise not be able to afford a university education, Lytle said.

Lytle said only nine universities nationwide received a grant in the area of services for which CSU, Chico applied: “Preparing Personnel to Provide Related Services to Children, including Infants and Toddlers, with Disabilities.”

Lytle is an adapted physical education specialist who has been teaching individuals with disabilities for more than 25 years. She is the founder of the CSU, Chico’s Autism Clinic.