Hunter Autism Research, Practice & Policy Center (HARPP)
NEXT for Autism provided an important grant to Hunter College and ongoing technical assistance to open the Hunter Autism Research, Practice & Policy Center, formerly known as the Hunter College Autism Center, an institution dedicated to the multidisciplinary study of autism and to the education and training of autism educators and related service providers. It is the joint vision of NEXT for Autism and Hunter College that HARPP will have an immense positive impact on the delivery of educational programs to students with ASD in the public schools. HARPP will accomplish this by both providing high quality training to the future educators of students with ASD and also increasing the number of highly trained educators who will work with this special population of students. HARPP opened in 2008 and has the capacity to catapult Hunter College into national prominence in the field of autism.
The mission of HARPP will be to provide evidence-based coursework and training for educators and related service professionals to better educate and serve people with ASD. Hunter College hopes to produce basic knowledge about autism spectrum disorder, to conduct and disseminate applied research, to respond to the needs of children and families affected by autism and to assist organizations seeking to support the autism community. In the first six years it was open, HARPP provided training to 363 professionals who impacted nearly 5,800 students with autism and their families.
For NEXT for Autism, Hunter College was a natural choice to house this groundbreaking initiative. Its School of Education is the oldest public school of education in New York State, and as such is one of the larger feeders of certified school teachers into the New York City public schools. Furthermore, Hunter College’s ability to draw upon the disciplinary expertise from its four major schools: Education, Arts and Sciences, Social Work, and Health Professions, will meaningfully impact the work of HARPP and the professionals that it trains. In this way, Hunter is uniquely poised to produce innovative work in the study of autism spectrum disorders, and HARPP will solidify and unify its efforts in this important endeavor.