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"Preschool Allows Children With Autism To Develop Social, Language
September 21, 2004
ATLANTA, GEORGIA--The following five paragraphs are excerpts from a story in Tuesday's Emory Wheel:
It's lunchtime at the Walden preschool on Clairmont Campus and children are digging into their hot dogs and hash browns which, not coincidentally, begin with H, the letter of the week.
This may seem like a scene from every other preschool in the country, but one-third of the children at Walden have autism and are part of the Walden Early Childhood Program, where they interact with their peers who do not have autism and develop in a more typical way.
Medical school psychiatry professor Gail McGee piloted the program in 1985 at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and was later recruited to direct Emorys Autism Resource Center in 1991.
Through her research in the initial program, McGee determined that children with autism progressed better in social skills when interacting with typically developing children, said Michael Morrier, assistant director of the Autism Center.
Part of the main benefit [of the program] is having children with autism surrounded by age-appropriate language and social models, Morrier explained. Since [children with autism] all have social and language deficits, having them together ... is no model for appropriate behavior.
"Preschool allows children with autism to develop social, language abilities" (Emory Wheel)
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