Dr. Nicole Anthony, assistant professor of special education at Fayetteville State University (FSU), under the direction of Dr. Pamela Jackson, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, formed an Autism Advisory Council to address the complex needs of children and families affected by autism in the Cumberland County region. The council at FSU is believed to be the only one of its kind in the country at an historically black college and university (HBCU) addressing the needs of children and families impacted by autism.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or autism impacts 1 in 59 children in the United States, and in the state of North Carolina, 1 in 57 children. The state of North Carolina is a data-collection site for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. The current prevalence rate for the state of North Carolina is based on the analysis of data collected from the health and special education records of children who were 8 years-old and living in one of 6 counties (Alamance, Chatham, Forsyth, Guilford, Orange, and Wake) in 2014.
The Council consists of faculty members, Dr. Danielle Nesbitt and Dr. Erica Campbell; parent advocates, Ms. Brandie Taylor and Mr. Kevin Dennison; Autism Society of Cumberland County's Director of Programs and Outreach, Ms. Adrienne Trego: COE Coordinator, Mrs. Christy Thomas-James; and elementary education student, Ms. Jasmine McNeill.
The goal of the Council is to identify and deliver supports to children and families impacted by autism in the Cumberland County region. Currently, the Council is creating a needs assessment to be deployed throughout the area.