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South Coast University Launching New Autism Center

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CLU Associate Professor Edlyn Pena and son, Diego who is on the autism spectrum

The latest research on autism shows that one in 68 children in the United States are on the autism spectrum.

Now a Ventura County-based university is establishing a new center to initially provide information, and eventually perhaps services, to those living with autism in the region.

California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks is launching a new Autism and Communication Center.

Beth Brennan is Associate Dean of CLU’s Graduate School of Education, and Director of CLU’s Special Education programs.

She and Edlyn Pena, Director of Doctoral Studies and an associate professor at CLU, are the co-founders of the new center. Brennan says there will be a special emphasis on helping those who on the spectrum who are no verbal.

Pena says the initial focus is on education, in the form of seminars and conferences to bring experts on the issue to Ventura County.

Pena teamed with CLU Associate Professor Jodie Kokur for research on how to help students on the autism spectrum in college.

The Director is in Washington, D.C. this week to present findings at a conference on the issue. As a member of the Federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, Pena provides advice on the autism issue to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Brennan says while the creation of the autism center has just been announced, they already have some events in the works. The goal is to eventually add to educational efforts and services in Ventura County on top of the current research taking place in the field.

CLU is the parent of KCLU Radio.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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