Dr. Wayne Fuqua, chair of the WMU Department of Psychology, is at the forefront of something big.
Several months ago, Fuqua and several of his students attended a bill signing requiring insurance companies to cover diagnosis and treatment (up to age 18) of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Michigan.
More recently, the WMU Board of Trustees approved an autism specialization to the Master Teacher endorsement offered with the Master of Arts in Special Education program. Now, graduates can take what they've learned at WMU, and teach it elsewhere.
In July, Michigan Governor Snyder appointed Fuqua to the newly formed Michigan Autism Council as the representative for state universities. The council operates within the Department of Community Health and oversees the Autism Spectrum Disorders State plan. He was one of 12 chosen for the council.
Now, the Department of Psychology, in collaboration with Residential Opportunities, Inc., is establishing the Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment in Portage, Michigan. The center will focus on evidence-based practices. Residential Opportunities Inc. will run, develop, and manage the physical facility, and WMU will integrate practicum students and provide consultation services.
So what does of all this mean for the #1 ranked Applied Behavior Analysis program in the nation?
Aside from giving Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan a shot at being the best place to receive treatment for an Autism Spectrum Disorder, it will give WMU students practicum training and strengthen an already strong program. It means the WMU/ Kalamazoo community could take the lead in Autism treatment — and quite possibly in working toward finding a cure.
The new Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment had a ribbon-cutting ceremony in early August. Fuqua, among other state officials, was in attendance. The center hopes to serve around 150 children and adolescents a year. Fuqua plans to teach practicum courses at the center, and already has 8 graduate students in place.
Two WMU alumni have been hired in director positions, and three WMU Doctoral students (two of which are board-certified behavior analysts), have been hired to work at the center.
To learn more, follow the links below:
WMU NEWS — GOV. SNYDER APPOINTS WAYNE FUQUA TO MICHIGAN AUTISM COUNCIL
KALAMAZOO GAZETTE — GREAT LAKES CENTER FOR AUTISM OPENS IN KALAMAZOO
The above photo was taken at the bill signing in April, 2012. Pictured (L to R):
Psychology Students: Brighid Fronapfel, Katie Kestner, Shawn Quigley and Kate La Londe; Dr. Wayne Fuqua. Seated is Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.