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Anderson Center for Autism designates SUNY Empire the first autism-supportive college

Author Chelsea Siegal
Date January 22, 2021

Executives from Anderson Center for Autism announced plans for a comprehensive training and consultation program that will lead to SUNY Empire’s designation as a first-of-its-kind Autism Supportive College. The initiative, which will take several months to complete, will include Anderson’s facilitation of group training programs for SUNY Empire State College faculty and staff, as well as general consulting for the purposes of organizational development.

SUNY Empire will be investing about $30,000 over the next two years to make their campus more inclusive. In addition to providing training to their employees, Anderson will be consulting with SUNY Empire on how to make their operations more autism-friendly.

The news comes after the planning, development, and official opening of SUNY Empire State College’s Center for Autism Inclusivity. The initial objectives of that plan were to develop academic, certification, and licensure programs that could help meet growing workforce needs, expand professional opportunities for those entering the field of autism, and establish a Center for Excellence in Autism Education. Now, Anderson and SUNY Empire are focused on ensuring that the college is equipped to better accommodate the needs of students with autism.

“For colleges and universities like SUNY Empire State College, the opportunity is three-fold – they can provide the kind of educational path that can help build out our workforce in this space, ensure that teachers, staff, and peer groups understand how to be as supportive as possible to students with autism, and pursue research that will help inform and inspire other individuals, communities, and organizations going forward. SUNY Empire has long had a stellar reputation of providing a top-notch education, particularly to their students with special needs,” said Patrick Paul, CEO and Executive Director at Anderson Center for Autism and graduate of SUNY Empire State College. “Anderson Consulting is thrilled to be working with the visionary team at SUNY Empire; we hope that this initiative will prompt other colleges to follow suit.”

According to the leadership team at SUNY Empire State, the collaboration between Anderson Center for Autism and the higher ed institution is a “natural fit.” The Anderson Center for Autism’s Consulting team will roll out the training for SUNY Empire State College in 2021.

Additionally, the Anderson Center for Autism and SUNY Empire are developing a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program that will prepare graduates to become NYS licensed behavior analysts and board-certified behavior analysts. This program is currently under SUNY and New York State Education Department (NYSED) review. Pending SUNY and NYSED approval, the anticipated launch date is September 2021.