YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University will begin using live video streaming to allow health care professionals at EMU’s Autism Collaborative Center to expand care to rural or disadvantaged families in Michigan with a child or young adult who is autistic.

There are numerous rural communities in the state where there is no money or available transportation for consultations, diagnosis or parent support. The EMU Telehealth program, which will help to address these needs, was made possible thanks to a $500,000 grant from the state of Michigan that was awarded to EMU’s Center in 2011. 

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AT&T also contributed $25,000 to allow the ACC to expand services it offers to Michigan families. They will be honored at an event Friday to debut the Telehealth program.

EMU’s Autism Collaborative Center is at 1055 Cornell Road, at the northwest corner of the EMU campus, inside the former Fletcher Elementary School.

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Autism is a complex and costly disorder that results in significant difficulties in communication, socialization, learning and behavior. Children with autism often have a difficult time being properly diagnosed or receiving therapy, which requires individualized intervention. The new program can help families throughout the state and save them time and money.

Saline residents Kelly and Steve VanSingel, who have two daughters with autism, will speak about the Center’s benefits and the new government mandate for insurance coverage.

A live video stream featuring a music teacher in a classroom in Clare, 125 miles northwest of Ypsilanti, will demonstrate the Telehealth program’s effectiveness in reaching out to Michiganders throughout the state.

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The EMU Autism Collaborative Center, which is non-profit, offers a team of professionals and highly trained students from various departments, and offers services ranging from music therapy and occupational therapy to speech therapy and dietetics.