St. Cloud State University Unveils Autism Discovery Center
ST. CLOUD (WJON News) - St. Cloud State University unveiled a new, state-of-the-art, autism research center.
The Linda (’74) and Richard Offerdahl Autism Discovery Center at SCSU will provide students an opportunity to work directly with patients to discover the best treatment options.
At the open house Wednesday, Shonda Craft PhD, LMFT and Dean of the College of Health and Wellness Professions, said that the new center will allow students from the undergraduate level to the Master’s and eventually Doctorate programs access to real-world experience with community members who have been diagnosed with Autism.
The center is outfitted with everything from small exam rooms to larger exercise spaces all wired with the latest technology so students can practice with patients and then receive critique from faculty members.
Linda Offerdahl said she learned about the need for autism care once she became a parent.
After raising three children, we began to appreciate and be aware of the great differences among children in their mental and behavioral health. But the concept of a Center for Autism, coupled with the international reputation that the school has developed (with) this applied behavioral analysis and work with autism, is internationally known and that impressed us as well.
Tour the Linda (’74) and Richard Offerdahl Autism Discovery Center.
The center is designed to be a working lab, where members of the community can work directly with students and staff. There are several smaller exam rooms for sessions, as well as larger spaces for group sessions or working with younger children.
All spaces are wired to a central control room and the sessions are recorded. Students will receive critiques from faculty members about their sessions, and the video can be used for additional academic research on the topic.
Assistant Professor Odessa Luna PhD says the research done at the center will reach beyond the campus.
Most importantly, we are here for families and autistic children. In St. Cloud, families are desperately waiting for services. The O.A.D.C. is going to build even more service opportunities for autism, folks on the autism spectrum, and their families.