AT&T and WNY STEM Hub present the first STEM program for High Functioning Autistic Children in Western New York in partnership with the Institute for Autism Research (IAR) at Canisius College.
Photo of Award: Dr. Marcus Thomeer and members of his clinical team at the Institute for Autism Research join Dr. Michelle Kavanaugh (WNY STEM Hub) in accepting a gift from AT&T’s Kevin Hanna to launch the Prism Program at Canisius College.
The Prism Project (PRISM) will become a newly embedded component of the empirically-validated 5-week summerMAX program conducted by the IAR in the summer of 2019. PRISM will provide the opportunity for the children with High Functioning Autistic Syndrome Disorder (HFASD) to expand narrow interests, promote STEM skills, and increase STEM career awareness. PRISM will provide opportunities for the participants to practice social communication and social cognition skills in a STEM environment adapted to their needs. PRISM will also provide autism awareness and leadership development for a diverse group of high school students who will serve as cross-age peer role models.
Ten PRISM experiences will be scheduled twice per week during the 45 minute therapeutic activities conducted in the summerMAX program. These experiences will include hands-on, unplugged and computer-based activities with 3D printers, Spheros, Ozobots, Raspberry Pi, Thimble, and various Code.org activities. The children with HFASD will work in teams of 12 children to complete short projects emanating from these STEM experiences. Three summerMAX research clinical interns, a research clinical supervisor and two peer leaders will assist the STEM instructors leading the STEM lessons.