Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- January 9, 2004

Professionals Interested in Autism Specialization to be Served by CSULA Federal Training Grant

California State University, Los Angeles’ autism specialist William D. Frea (Los Angeles resident) has recently been awarded a $1.2 million five-year federal grant to prepare educators and therapists to work with children with autism across the Los Angeles area. This personnel preparation grant from the U.S. Department of Education will train at least 100 professionals in methods for teaching and supporting individuals with autism.

“This grant will address the enormous need for professionals who understand how to work with children with autism and their families,” says Frea. According to Frea, the number of students identified as having autism has tripled in California over the last ten years. “This grant will provide coursework and fieldwork to special educators, counselors, behavior specialists, and school psychologists,” he explains.

An associate professor of education in the Division of Special Education, Frea directs Cal State L.A.’s autism programs. These unique programs offer a master’s degree option in autism in the Division of Special Education. The University also offers an autism certificate, which represents four courses that can be added to any credential or masters degree program.

Cal State L.A. assistant professor Jennifer Symon, also a specialist in autism, will be coordinating the training responsibilities.

William Frea, associate professor of education, received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Frea is the coordinator of the autism program, and also coordinates the joint doctoral program in Special Education. He has published many articles on improving social skills and disruptive behavior in children with autism and a guide for assisting parents to analyze causes of behavior and design treatment plans. He is an expert in clinical and educational interventions for autism, and is a licensed clinical psychologist. His specialty is in social skills training, challenging behavior, functional communication, and all areas of the autistic spectrum. He was a fellow at the Vanderbilt University, Peabody College, Kennedy Center.

Media Contact: Carol Selkin, Media Relations Director, (323) 343-3044

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