WSW: Progress And Challenges Of Treating Autism

Feb 12, 2018

Autism Awareness Ribbon
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The co-investigator for Western Michigan University’s Autism Center for Excellence says treatment for people with autism is getting better. But Stephanie Peterson says more discoveries are being made, and more challenges remain.


Western’s Autism Center for Excellence is an “umbrella organization” for many services. Peterson, who is also chair of Western’s Psychology Department, says that includes services on campus offering social skills groups for students and job coaching. The Kalamazoo Autism Center is also part of the Autism Center for Excellence. A presentation on autism will be part of WMU’S Spring Convocation on February 23rd.

The Kalamazoo Autism Center serves children as young as 2 up to 15 as of now. Peterson says they hope to serve older children. She says they currently have between 20 and 24 children receiving treatment. But Peterson says the center, which opened in the fall of 2016, is starting to run out of space. She says they may have to look at expanding soon.

Peterson says researchers know the most about young children, and behavioral issues. She says they know less about high school age and young adults with autism, Peterson says those are the areas with the most limited research.

Asked about areas where more research is needed, Peterson says coordinating treatment for children with autism for school and their home. She also says serving children in rural areas with needs or challenges needs more examination. Peterson says that may include using technology to treat children with autism who don’t live near a university or a facility like the Kalamazoo Autism Center.

Image from Wikimedia Commons