$3.4M grant for Canisius autism research

August 7, 2013 Updated Aug 7, 2013 at 8:45 AM EDT

By Dan Miner, Reporter- Business First

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$3.4M grant for Canisius autism research

August 7, 2013 Updated Aug 7, 2013 at 8:45 AM EDT

The federal government has handed Canisius College its largest-ever research grant, which will add to the college's current efforts on autism research.

Canisius' Institute for Autism Research, established in 2009 to better understand autism and the children affected by it, will receive $3.4 million over four years from the U.S. Dept. of Education.

"The IAR is a leading center for innovative research and treatment programs for children on the autism spectrum," said Richard Wall, interim vice president for academic affairs. "The new funding will allow the institute to significantly expand on this and, at the same time, further the applied learning experiences and academic programming opportunities already available to undergraduate and graduate students."

Canisius researchers will use the grant to evaluate the effectiveness of a new school-based intervention program, schoolMAX, for elementary students diagnosed with high-function autism spectrum disorders.

SchoolMAX is an extension of the Canisius-based institute's summerMAX program, one of the first comprehensive treatment programs proven effective for children with such disorders.

The $3.4 million will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the schoolMAX program and will take place in elementary schools throughout Western New York, involving 96 students and their teachers and parents over four years. It will also fund a total of 25 undergraduate and graduate research assistants in each year of the grant.

The institute for Autism Research is housed in Canisius' newly opened Science Hall, and previously received a three-year, $1.2 million research grant to develop and pilot test the comprehensive school-based intervention program.

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