The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast has appointed an Autism Advisory Board for the Gulf Coast Autism Project, a $1.3 million program developed through a partnership between the university and the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE).
The committee is comprised of both university and community representatives. Committee members representing Southern Miss Gulf Coast include Dr. Pat Joachim, Dr. Tom Lansford, Dr. Ann Blackwell, Dr. David Daves, Dr. Tim Morse and Dr. Ken Zantow.
Representing the community are Kathy Andrews of Hattiesburg; Sen. David Baria of Bay St. Louis; Rep. Richard Bennett of Long Beach; Alyson Creel of the Ocean Springs School District; Dave Estorge of Memorial Hospital at Gulfport; Dr. Eric Flake of the United States Air Force; Doris Flettrich of the Pass Christian School District; Dr. Judy Lytle, professor emeritus; Dr. Tom Lytle, professor emeritus; Maura McLaughlin of Hattiesburg; Dr. Terry Millette of Singing River Hospital; and Kent Nicaud of Memorial Hospital at Gulfport.
In October 2009, MDE and Southern Miss Gulf Coast entered into a multi-year Interagency Agreement to provide the Gulf Coast Autism Project, a school-based program for children with autism. Through the agreement, Southern Miss Gulf Coast plans to effectively address MDE’s goals of pre-service and in-service training for teachers, paraprofessionals and related service personnel while providing services to students.
The Long Beach School District has recently offered in-school facilities to accommodate the Gulf Coast Autism Project. While the district will house the project, Southern Miss Gulf Coast will manage the program.