News Article Details

Pierpont to offer unique online training

Times West Virginian - 5/18/2019

May 18-- May 18--WHITE HALL -- Pierpont Community and Technical College is teaming up with the West Virginia Autism Training Center to provide a unique training program about autism.

The school signed an agreement to become a distributor of the Center's online course that teaches different methods on how to work with people who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

"We are partnering with the Autism Mentor Training facility in order to bring the autism mentorship training to the state of West Virginia on an online platform," said Kimberly Cale, director of operations for continuing education for Pierpont. "It will be available to anyone who wanted additional knowledge on the autistic population, however, it is geared toward care professionals in the school systems so we can get this knowledge to every county."

According to Cale, the course is designed to train students how to identify the characteristics of autism and how to interact with people who are at different points on the autism spectrum. Being an online class, the program can be accessed across the state.

"They have been doing this for about two decades," she said. "However, it has been in-person training and that was very limited as to who could attend. By bringing this to Pierpont's online forum, that will open it up to the entire state as well as care professionals, parents, anyone in the broader community that would like the information."

Although there are classes offered in person throughout the state, this is the first online version to be available for easier accessibility for.

Andrew Nelson with the Autism Training Center will be leading the first class, which is scheduled to begin June 1. Pierpont is currently enrolling students in the class.

"We're using the online format for the first time in the history of this training," said Nelson, director of direct services for the Autism Training Center. "This will expand the reach to the entire state, and instead of being four days of in-class intensive work, this will be doled out over two months essentially through extended lessons, discussion boards online, submitting portfolios and samples of work, so it really gets stretched in time to do more in-depth discussion."

This training is one part of autism mentor certification, which is required by West Virginia state code for anyone who wants to be a mentor or work with individuals with autism.

"In that state code, there are certain requirements that a person must meet before they can become an autism mentor," Nelson said. "And this training helps provide the hours of training they need to get that certification. It's really fulfilling a component of state code."

As a professional in the field, Nelson's instruction in the course will help explain how people with autism reason and also the actions which may be associated with the condition at different levels.

"It is a 10-unit or so expansive course that goes through everything," Nelson said. "It's really taking them through the core of what a professional needs to be a solid support for students with autism."

Cale is happy to be a part of offering this program she believes is needed in the state,. She said the partnership is another point of providing information to the community that Pierpont serves.

"We would like to increase accessibility through the state," Cale said. "Also, we are an open enrollment institution and we want people to know that we're here for all of their needs."

For more information on the autism training online class, or to enroll for the cost of $250, visit www.pierpont.edu/ce.

Email Eddie Trizzino at etrizzino@timeswv.com and follow him on Twitter at @eddietimeswv.

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(c)2019 the Times West Virginian (Fairmont, W. Va.)

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