Published: Nov 10, 2010 9:51 PM EST
Updated: Nov 10, 2010 6:51 PM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - It is estimated that 1 in 110 children in the United States are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Given the significant rise in diagnoses and the complexity of the disorders, caregivers including teachers, healthcare providers, parents and loved ones were not adequately prepared to respond to the needs of children and adults with ASD.

Nationally there is a movement for higher education to develop curriculum to help train caregivers. Now that training is available through Edison State College.  “Without education a community cannot adequately address the many issues associated with ASD and how to properly care for adults and children with an ASD,” said Edythe Steffens, Sanibel resident and mother of a child diagnosed with ASD. “A solution to addressing this at the local level, as Edison State has, is to provide the type of specialized autism education necessary.”

Edison State College is becoming a leader in the fight to bring awareness to the broad spectrum disorder of Autism.  ESC worked with Innovative Learning, a world leader in autism training, to develop an online certification program specifically for nurses, allied healthcare providers and teachers.  The programs are designed to provide nurses and teachers with the knowledge and skills to better prepare them to recognize the signs of ASD when working with both children and adults. 

Innovative Learning has advised us in the use of technology solutions and online educational models to develop a training program that will make a significant change in people’s lives,” said Adrian Kerr, Director of Continuing Education at Edison State College.  “This is a great initiative which will make positive contributions to the lives of many people with an ASD and their families.”

The CEO and President of Innovative Learning, Dr. Michael Reid, will be meeting with and speaking to Edison State College employees, local school district employees, healthcare providers, families and caregivers next week.

The community and media are invited to attend:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10:30am – 11:30am

Lee Campus, School of Nursing Building (AA-177)

Park in Lot #2

“Edison State has stepped up to the plate and made the societal response we feel is necessary, by providing these educational opportunities on-line for professionals who serve the children and adults in our local communities,” said Steffens.

“There is a national and local need for more autism-educated professionals,” said Kerr.  “Edison State’s online certification program in autism education will help local professionals to better understand the challenges facing children and adults with ASD.”

For more information about the online Autism Certificate Programs offered through Continuing Education at Edison State College visit: or contact Melinda Holloway, ESC Continuing Education Specialist at 239-985-3408.