Autism Foundation of Oklahoma receives large grant to launch program to train childcare workers

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Autism Foundation of Oklahoma received a $25,000 grant to launch a training program for childcare providers to support children with autism.

The Inasmuch Foundation provided the grant to the Autism Foundation.

AFO will collaborate with Sunbeam Family Services to create introductory training for childcare providers to help them better understand autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and direct families to local resources, according to an AFO news release.

“Awareness and identification are a key piece of improving access to early intervention services for children at risk for autism spectrum disorder. The signs of autism typically appear in early development and childcare providers can often be the first person in a child’s life to recognize key indicators”, said AFO Executive Director Emily Scott.

A childcare provider is important to families who have a child on the autism spectrum, according to the news release.

Thirty-nine percent of parents who have a child with ASD say childcare impacted their employment decisions, which is seven times higher than families who do not have a child with ASD.

A recent Oklahoma needs assessment found that 41 percent of parents who have a child with ASD depend on relatives for childcare, while 25 percent of families with autistic children had one parent who quit working to care for their autistic child.

“We value the importance of community partnerships and this work with the Autism Foundation is an example of coming together to serve families of central Oklahoma,” said Sunbeam Chief Program Officer Paula Gates.

“Oklahoma children and families will significantly benefit from the Autism Foundation and Sunbeam Family Services’ collaborative training endeavor,” said Inasmuch Foundation Vice President of Programs Sarah Roberts.   “Since early intervention can change a child’s developmental path and improve lifelong outcomes, this type of training is imperative for childcare providers in our state.”

Go to www.AutismFoundationOK.org for more information.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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