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Parents learn new skills in autism training

The first class of parents to complete a 12-week course on supporting children with autism spectrum disorder celebrated its graduation Oct. 19 in Minneapolis. The training was a collaborative effort of DHS, A Global Voice for Autism and the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota. DHS recruited training participants, arranged for a location, engaged parent volunteers to help, provided family-wide social and emotional supports, and connected them to existing resources and services and provided interpreter services during training sessions as needed.
A Global Voice for Autism developed and provided a 12-module culturally appropriate, evidence-based training curriculum, a board–certified behavioral analyst to conduct the training and other professionally trained volunteers. The Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota provided free space for the training.
Parents met with trainers twice weekly for a total of 60 hours over 12 weeks. Both theoretical training and practical sessions with the children were included. Topics covered included function of behavior, reinforcement, expressive and receptive communication, violent and self-injurious behaviors, meal skills, teaching and practicing new skills and creating schedules and understanding time.
“The positive outcomes of this training highlight the need to support and continue such innovative efforts to help parents engage with their children with autism in a culturally meaningful way,” said Alex Bartolic, director of the DHS Disability Services Division. “This engagement and education increase the quality of life of children with autism while decreasing stress levels of parents and siblings.”
Left to right (seated) Mariam Egal, multicultural outreach and education coordinator, DHS Disability Services Division, and Fatima Molas; (back row) Alex Bartolic, DHS Disability Services Division director, Abdirahman Jimale, Naiima Jimaale, Hamdi Hirsi, Fardowsa Mohamed, Nasra Geed, Mariam Jama, Naima Mohamed and volunteer Anne Harrington.
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