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Superintendent Barge Honors Teachers at Autism Training Ceremony

Recognizing Georgia’s teachers who have completed the ANCA training program in partnership with the Georgia Department of Education and Marcus Autism Center
MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358,
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May 24, 2012 – In a recent ceremony, State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge honored 123 Georgia teachers from across the state for completing a 2-year autism training program.  Together, the Georgia Department of Education and Marcus Autism Center developed the Assessing the Needs of Children with Autism (ANCA) program and worked with teachers over the past two school years to better meet the needs of children with autism in Georgia classrooms.
“With the growing number of students in Georgia with Autism, I appreciate the Marcus Autism Center partnering with the Department of Education to give our teachers this specialized training,” said Superintendent Barge. “I also applaud all of these teachers for taking part in this training opportunity to enhance their skills so they can better educate our students with autism.”
Teachers from all over the state attended training in eight regions - Augusta, Claxton, Columbus, Dublin, Grantville, Griffin, Lenox and Rome. Working with Marcus Autism Center consultants, these teachers completed coursework via face-to-face instruction, telemedicine (video chat using a secure server) and webinars.
Participants in the ANCA program received an in-depth overview of the neurodevelopmental disorder, and autism’s core deficits - language, communication and social skills. Teachers also learned how to administer an assessment that measures an individual child’s language, communication and social skills, and based on that assessment, develop IEP’s (individualized education programs) for each student. Using therapy techniques taught by Marcus consultants, teachers worked on students' weaknesses, tracked their progress and consistently updated IEP’s to reflect the students’ progress.
“During the ANCA training program, our coordinators met teachers from all over Georgia who truly care about the children they are working with,” says Dana Zavatkay, Program Manager for the Marcus Autism Center. “ANCA provided these teachers with the technical training they need to help their students succeed and also helped them establish a support network of colleagues in their own geographical regions. Because these teachers will continue to work effectively with children with autism for years to come, the overall impact of this program is immeasurable.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 84 children in Georgia has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As ASDs become more common, it is increasingly important for teachers to obtain additional training to better meet the educational needs of children with autism. For more information on ANCA training and registration information, visit