Dr. Amy Van Hecke, assistant professor of psychology, Mary Carlson, adjunct lecturer in the College of Education, and Wendy Krueger, clinical instructor of speech pathology and audiology, have been named the recipients of Marquette University’s 2013 Way Klingler Teaching Enhancement Award. Van Hecke, Carlson and Krueger developed a multidisciplinary, cross-college teaching initiative that will teach undergraduates in Marquette’s education, psychology and speech pathology and audiology programs to collaborate when working with individuals who have autism.
The newest assessment from the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one out of every 88 children may fit the criteria to be on the autism spectrum. Van Hecke notes that many of the families of children with autism see a psychologist, a speech pathologist and a special education teacher separately. “The way we will be teaching our undergraduates to work in a care team will encourage them to work together in their professional careers in the future,” Van Hecke said.
The course, “Educating Students about Autism: putting the Pieces Together through an Integrated, Experiential Approach,” will be offered during the spring 2014 semester and is open to undergraduates with speech-language pathology, education and psychology majors. Throughout the semester, students will collaborate in cross-disciplinary teams of three encompassing one student from each of the three majors. Each team will be placed at a service-learning site and paired with a group of children and young adults with autism. The students will develop a collaborative paper and give a final presentation on their experiences during the semester.
“I think we can help students see how much we can all learn from individuals with autism and how we benefit form the opportunity to make a difference in their lives through our work as therapists, clinicians and educators,” Krueger says.
The Way Klinger Teaching Enhancement Award is intended to foster the development of effective and sustainable changes and innovations in teaching approaches within specific courses. This annual award is given to a team of two or more faculty to develop, implement and evaluate a specific teaching project. This autism course was chosen in part because of its focus on promoting high-impact educational practices, including interdisciplinary, experiential and service learning.