Chapel Hill, N.C. — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has founded a new research and development center to help high school students with autism, the university said Wednesday.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded a $10 million, five-year grant to UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute to start the new Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The center will develop and assess school- and community-based educational programs and interventions for students with autism spectrum disorders, or ASD, through their high school years and as they transition into other settings, the university said.
Director of the Frank Porter Graham Institute Sam Odom said most autism research has focused on helping young children through the early identification and intervention stages of disorder.
Odom, who will co-direct the new center with Frank Porter Graham colleague Kara Hume, said their work will extend the knowledge base from early education through late adolescence and young adulthood.
"Every year, more adolescents with ASD are entering high school, and the research about effective programs for those students and their families is very limited," Odom said in a news release. "Our new center aims to fill that gap by collaborating with national special education leaders to develop new programs and evaluate their impact in high schools across the country."