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Disability DCL
Development of a University-Community Partnership to Offer Informal Computer Science Opportunities to Children and Youth Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder

(NSF AISL #23-0232)

The project will focus on developing informal learning opportunities for children and youth ages

8-18 with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) via robotics and coding as the means of engagement to build capacity and community in STEM. This project expands and enhances new partnerships with organizations that serve children and youths diagnosed with ASD. Project activities will generate descriptive and prescriptive knowledge for ways to broaden the participation of those diagnosed with ASD in informal learning about computer science. 

The goal of this NSF AISL Partnership Development and Planning project is to establish and foster a new partnership among the University of Alabama and Arts n' Autism, a community organization that provides supervised STEM after-school care and outreach to children and youth with a diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from low-income families in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. This project addresses NSF's Dear College Letter 21-114, Research to Improve STEM Teaching, Learning, and Workforce Development for Persons with Disabilities, for research to improve STEM teaching and learning for persons with disabilities. 

This team will leverage our expertise in computer science education, community partnerships, and evaluation of individuals with ASD to establish a new partnership among the University of Alabama and Arts n' Autism, and identify future collaborative projects that are based on the needs, experiences, and preferences of our partners and the youth they serve. 


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Amy Hutchison
George Mason University
Principal Investigator

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