WKU Spirit Winter 2017 : Page 48

The Kelly Autism Program’s nationally recognized Circle of Support program for WKU students with Autism was recently featured in The New York Times . Additional research is essential in gaining more knowledge on clinical treatments In addition to the hands-on, clinical experiences with clients, the CEC is in the midst of research projects that could lead to significant developments in future treatment plans. One such project is the “ Sound Pillow ” study. It is well documented that those on the Autism spectrum often struggle with sleep disturbances. The CEC is working with three students in the Department of Psychology to design and implement a study to investigate the effectiveness of a Sound Pillow on sleep patterns in 100 volunteer subjects on the Autism spectrum. Through a partnership with a Franklin, Tenn., company called MyGenetx, WKU is participating in breakthrough research using genetic mapping. Participation in this study, and the development of long-term therapeutic programs that result from the study, could position WKU as the leading expert in the clinical treatment of Autism. WKU and MyGenetx collected DNA samples from selected participants and sent the data to researchers at Harvard Medical School. There, the data was analyzed to look for critical targets that are driving a patient’s condition. The ultimate results could raise the profile of WKU and the CEC, increase faculty and student involvement in research and assist in the development of new treatment plans for individuals on the Autism spectrum. 48 alumni.wku.edu

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