WKU Public Broadcasting awarded grant for students on Autism spectrum

Cassady Lamb

WKU Public Broadcasting was awarded an almost $250,000 grant to advance its developmental training program for students living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

The grant, titled “Embracing Differences, Finding Strengths: A Public Broadcasting Model for Autism Inclusion,” came from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, according to a WKU press release.

The Centers for Disease Control estimated 1 in 59 children are living with ASD. This grant and program ensures students with ASD are getting the right support when transitioning to the workforce, according to the release. 

In 2018, CPB awarded WKU a $10,000 grant in order to plan a project focusing on educational needs surrounding the community. Two years later, WKU is one of four programs receiving additional funding to extend and improve the program over the next two years. 

WKU President Timothy C. Caboni said in the press release a key goal at WKU is finding ways to elevate the community, state and nation and this project goes along with that goal. 

“Through this grant, not only will students with ASD be educated in what’s expected of them in the workforce, the workforce will be educated in the value of these students,” Caboni said in the release. 

In 2017, The Brinkley Student Employment Fellowship program, named after David Brinkley, director of WKU Public Broadcasting, was established and has since been employing, preparing and training an average of 40 WKU students and Brinkley Fellows with ASD a year.

“With the tremendous support of WKU and CPB, we’re able to enhance our mission to serve the public in innovative and impactful ways,” Brinkley said in the release.

Christina Noel, WKU teacher education professor and psychology professors, Thomas Gross and Adam Lockwood, will be helping to develop tools used in assessing the conclusiveness of the project, according to the press release.

Along with the faculty members working on this project, an advisory committee of national public broadcasting station leaders will advise WKU’s team to make sure ASD inclusion is a part of the system. 

News reporter Cassady Lamb can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @lambp0p.