Laura Marquez Ramsey, director of the Austin College Academic Skills Center, has recently completed 90 hours of coursework to earn a Professional Concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorders from the University of California-Davis MIND Institute.
During the 2016-17 academic year, 1.19 percent of Austin College students registered with the Academic Skills Center with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The number of students increases each year slightly, by national averages.
“Understanding best practices for encouraging our neurodiverse learners is becoming more and more critical and having a bag of tools to share with my staff in the ASC makes a huge difference,” Ramsey said.
The UC-Davis MIND Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) is a collaborative international research center, committed to awareness, understanding, prevention, care and cures of neurodevelopmental disorders. Ramsey’s professional concentration will help her to understand the behavioral and neurological elements of the disorder, assess a student’s level of involvement, determine baseline data to measure progress, and discover specific intervention treatment and strategies.
“This program has enabled me to enhance my skills and knowledge in working with one of the most dynamic populations of students,” Ramsey said. “Since I’ve been at AC, our Access Services program has more than doubled in size to meet the needs of our diverse learning community. Even though our students receive accommodations in a variety of ways within the classroom, there are many additional support strategies that can be applied outside of the classroom to help students thrive.”
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.