How the Burkhart Center Advances Autism Treatment & Education

To help educate future autism care professionals, the Burkhart Center collaborated with CEV Multimedia to create informative online lessons about autism and autism education.

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When Janice Magness reflects on her students at the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research, she says, “A lot of them have been underestimated. People think they can only do minimal tasks. Most people would be surprised by what they can accomplish.”

As the director of the Burkhart Transition Academy, Magness and her staff of five teachers/job coaches work with up to 20 students, between the ages of 18 and 30, to prepare them for the next step in their lives after graduating high school. Each student enters the program for three years to learn about potential career paths, continue their education and develop soft skills to eventually enter the workforce.

With a skilled team and effective teaching resources, the center has a 90 percent success rate of placing students in jobs. Many students leave the program with an entirely new career plan.

“We help our students explore potential career paths with tools like iCEV. When we want to talk about a career, we can pull up the program and have a video of someone in that field explain what they do in their job,” Magness said.

The Burkhart Transition Academy encourages students to seek out information on their own, too. “Our students love using the computer and working either on their own or in a small group to research careers,” Magness added.

To prepare students for when they leave the academy, the staff works with them to complete at least three internships. Students also attend job fairs, participate in mock interviews, create a resume and apply for jobs.

The academy also focuses on soft skills to give students a well-rounded skill set for the workplace. Students participate in art activities, learn about nutrition, partake in music therapy, learn sign language, volunteer at a food bank and more.

For Magness, the program accomplishes more than placing students in jobs, it “gives them a chance to fit in with everyone else.” Through the Burkhart Transition Academy’s staff and resources, students are able to expand their sense of how they can contribute to the workplace and their community.

And the staff’s expertise reaches beyond the academy’s walls. To help educate future autism care professionals, the Burkhart Center collaborated with CEV Multimedia to create informative online lessons about autism and autism education. The video lessons help students interested in careers within the Education and Training and Human Services clusters understand the prevalence of autism, treatment and intervention methods, and how the Burkhart Center successfully supports people on the autism spectrum throughout their lives.

The Burkhart Center not only helps learners with autism defy expectations, it contributes to education that supports the next generation of educators, therapists, and autism care professionals.

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