NOVEMBER 19, 2021 — Researchers from the UTSA College of Education and Human Development’s Department of Educational Psychology were awarded a five-year, $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) for Project EARLY (Evidence-based Action, Research and Learning to support Young children with or at risk for autism).
UTSA researchers will use the funding to help meet the nation’s shortage of therapists who are trained to treat children with neurodivergent disorders.
“Both school psychologists and applied behavioral analysts have documented shortages, but there are even fewer professionals who possess competencies and credentialing across both specialty areas,” said Felicia Castro-Villarreal, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and co-principal investigator of the grant. “Project EARLY seeks to address this professional need by increasing the quantity and enhancing the quality of providers available to offer comprehensive services for children with autism.”
Graduate students who participate in Project EARLY will complete cooperative coursework in school psychology and applied behavior analysis (ABA) while engaging in innovative professional learning communities. Cross-disciplinary coursework will include experiential learning experiences at the UTSA Autism Treatment Center and the autism diagnostic clinic at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. UTSA graduates will also complete school consultation projects and competencies through the City of San Antonio’s Early Head Start Program.
“School psychologists with advanced training in ABA are vital in our school districts, as they are often at the front line of early assessment and evaluation for students in need of special education services,” said Hannah MacNaul, a co-principal investigator on the grant. “Moreover, behavior analysts with specialized training in school psychology, including culturally-responsive intervention and consultation, will lead to long-term collaboration efforts within schools and across a variety of settings resulting in positive outcomes for individuals with autism.”
UTSA graduate students selected to participate in Project EARLY will complete a paid internship at the Autism Treatment Center and receive other financial incentives totaling over $25,000. Upon completion of the program, students will be eligible to sit for the qualifying exams necessary for state and national credentials.
UTSA educational psychology faculty expect to begin admitting their first cohort of students in fall 2022.
Project EARLY is representative of the educational psychology department’s long history of interdisciplinary collaboration. The hands-on learning experiences available to students provide them with the opportunity to work with and learn from each other and with leading experts in fields related to the assessment and treatment of autism.
UTSA is an urban serving university focused on driving San Antonio’s knowledge economy and living out the notion that great universities need great cities and great cities need great universities. It is on track to attain National Research University Fund (NRUF) eligibility and R1 designation by the Carnegie Commission.
Watch the UTSA football team take on The University of North Texas at 1 p.m. on the ESPN Networks.Denton, Texas
Financial Success is a program to help students reduce their Financial stress by providing them with comprehensive resources to mange all of their finances. Need help completing your FAFSA or TASFA? Please join UTSA’s Financial Aid and Scholarships for our virtual FAFSA walk-in sessions. Our staff will be available to assist you in completing your financial aid application. This will be a come-and-go event, no appointment necessary.Virtual Event
Public health event that will be available for students to stop by and participate in activities to alleviate stress.Willow Room, 2.02.12, Student Union
Students will be emailed once we receiving the shipping list which will be early November. RSVP: Via email, students will be provided information whether we are doing an in-person or ring-pick-up event.HEB Student Union Ballroom
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.