Educators from across the Imperial Valley gained knowledgeable insight Tuesday in helping students diagnosed with autism succeed in both the special education and general education fields.
A presentation organized by Autism Support of Imperial County showcased well-known researchers and authors Dr. Robert and Dr. Lynn Koegel, who used their expertise to show local educators how to successfully include students of the autism spectrum in the classroom.
“We focused on motivation and ways of motivating their students to help them learn faster,” Lynn Koegel said.
Founders and directors of the Koegel Autism Center at University of California, Santa Barbra, Robert and Lynn have spearheaded the development of the Pivotal Response Treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder.
Autism is often characterized as a spectrum of neurological disorders that affect the brain and the normal development of a child.
“There seems to be more and more cases of autism coming out of the Valley,” said Tiffany Phillips, program specialist for the Imperial County Special Education Local Plan Area.
Having attended the event to better support children suffering from autism, Phillips said she’s happy she and others had the opportunity to take part in the presentation.
“We definitely need to be more educated and we could use training like this all the time,” Phillips said.
More than 90 educators came out to the free presentation at Sunflower Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon to learn new classroom strategies in teaching autistic students.
Among the audience sat Spencer Wavra, senior director of special education for Imperial County. Wavra said he was pleased to be a part of the learning program.
“I’m also a parent with a child with autism, so anytime I can learn professionally and to also help my child at home I think it’s a good opportunity to do so,” Wavra said. “I think it’s wonderful.”