You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

EMU autism center hiring full-time workers, expanding services with $500K state grant

By Katrease Stafford

After being awarded a $500,000 grant as part of the 2012-13 state budget, Eastern Michigan University’s Autism Collaborative Center will use the funds to hire full-time staff members and increase its services.


Clockwise from top left: music therapist Roberta Justice plays guitar while speech therapist Andrea House reads a story to children who have autism during a music therapy session at the Autism Collaborative Center at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti in May 2011.

Angela J. Cesere | file photo

The budget is currently awaiting Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature and the grant is a one-time appropriation part of the Community Health budget. The center also received a $500,000 grant last year to create a Tele-health program that will use a live video stream to evaluate and treat clients.

EMU College of Education dean Jann Joseph said she is “delighted” to receive the grant because it allows the center to provide more services to the community.

“We are an institution that works with state appropriations so this allows us to really decide what to offer and how to expand,” Joseph said. “It gives us a lot of flexibility.”

Joseph said the grant will function as seed money to hire at least four full-time workers. Currently, the center has one full-time employee. Joseph said the center will be looking for an occupational therapist, speech therapist and music therapist to add to the staff.

“We are also anticipating that we will need to hire someone on the lines of a program manager,” Joseph said. “We are going to be putting up these positions pretty soon on our job board.”

Joseph said the center has already offered a job to a “renowned” psychologist. Jann said the psychologist is expected to provide a variety of therapies to the center's clients.

The center has one temporary employee and seven part-time employees. Joseph anticipates some of them applying for the full-time positions.

Pamela Lemerand, director of the center, said the 2011 closure of the University of Michigan’s Autism and Communication Disorders Center has brought a lot of growth to EMU’s center— so much growth that the center currently has a waiting list for occupational therapy.

Joseph said there are nearly 15 families on the waiting list.

“Those people have been turning up steadily,” Joseph said.

Autism spectrum disorders affect 1 in every 110 children and 1 in every 70 boys, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s estimated that 1 million to 1.5 million American adults and children live with an autism spectrum disorder, a condition marked by social, communication and behavioral challenges.

The center has 70 unique clients per month being served in clinical and therapeutic program services. Monthly, nearly 120 individuals access other services at the center.

Joseph said receiving the grant couldn’t have come at a better time. She said the grant will allow for the staff to change the “structure” of the center.

“My goal is to be a viable entity while at the same time meeting the needs of our clients and that’s what the funding will allow us to do,” she said. “It will give us an opportunity to do what we’re going to do it better.”



Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 4:27 a.m.

Hopefully now they can lower their fees for service. They are mindnumbingly too high ...priced out of reach for most poor families.

Terri Eagen-Torkko

Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

This is fantastic news!


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

Hopefully they'll hire someone who knows how to correctly test for and treat mercury poisoning. If the mother is mercury toxic, usually from "silver" dental fillings, and if the baby inherits the right genes, and assorted other things go wrong, that's one of the major paths to autism. Pregnancy is a very effective way to detox a woman. Putting unnecessary stress on the immune system with grains (especially wheat) and toxic FDA approved synthetic food additives hurts too. An awful lot about autism seems to revolve around the immune system. But they'll probably stick with psychology and ignore biochemistry, same as just about everyone else.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

Actually, the Amish have a 1 in 271 rate of ASD. My hope is that the Autism Center will continue to practice evidence based treatments and continue to receive grants that allow it to expand their services.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

Autism is unknown amongst the Amish because it is not diagnosed or recognized for that matter. Please don't be as naive to think that is doesn't exist.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

Because we all know that they never get studies wrong. Ever wonder why doctors rarely, if ever, check for heavy metals? And if they do they use blood tests that only test recent acute exposure? And then react with religious certainty that autism can't possibly be because of anything the AMA and/or ADA have promoted and could be legally liable for? Hair tests for heavy metals are inexpensive, as is chelation as it requires no patented nor prescription pharmaceuticals. Pounding an immature infant immune system that has been further compromised by mercury with large numbers of vaccines doesn't appear to be the brightest thing to do. Poisoning adults with mercury causes problems too but autism appears to require poisoning within the first few years of life. Why are mercury fillings legal when that much mercury in materials that come into environmental contact is illegal in any other context? I'm just saying, maybe the second most toxic element next to uranium is worth a look. Start here: Meanwhile, please ignore how autism is virtually unknown amongst the Amish.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

They will not hire said person becaue the ONE study that suggested the mercury/vaccinations resulted in the spectrum was widely debunked by the AMA years ago. There is no link. Once people stop spreading these falsehoods, more focus can be put on treatment.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.

Marvelous -- for what ever reason we are seeing more autisic children, it is important to have a center to help assist them and their parents. Best wishes.