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CFOV Funds Augusta Levy Learning Center Staff Training

With April designated as Autism Awareness Month, we thought it would be appropriate to highlight one of the agencies that the CFOV was able to fund last fall through the unrestricted grantmaking program–The Augusta Levy Learning Center.  

The Augusta Levy Learning Center is the first intensive autism treatment program in the Ohio Valley. Utilizing methods pioneered and proven by Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas of UCLA and his colleagues, and under the guidance of the Lovaas Institute For Early Intervention (LIFE), the Levy Center aims to enhance the language, social, academic and independent living skills of its students. Each student at the Levy Center has his or her own unique curriculum based on the child’s needs and abilities and receives at least the recommended 30 hours per week of intensive, 1:1 instruction using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

One of the hallmarks of children with autism is an inability or markedly decreased ability to communicate. Many children with autism live with little or no verbal skills. The inability to communicate even basic requests creates a high level of frustration and can lead to many challenging behaviors. This skill deficit also isolates children with autism by interfering with or preventing socialization and peer relationships.

The Programming Coordinator of the Augusta Levy Center, who is also a licensed speech therapist, along with consultants from the Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention recommended that all of the Augusta Levy therapists attend a professional development seminar entitled “Motivating Children with Autism to Speak: Incorporating ABA Principles to Build Functional Communication.” The CFOV was able to make a grant to the Augusta Levy Center in the amount of $1,200 to allow two staff members to attend this conference.

Kathy Shapell, Executive Director of the Augusta Levy Learning Center, said, “We were able to implement immediately some new strategies, especially designed to motivate children with autism to speak, and the rewards are already evident in our students. We expect to see even better results throughout the  school year!”