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April is Autism Awareness Month and IMESD is highlighting our Autism Consultants!

Casey Townsend is an Autism Consultant. This is her first year in the job, but she said she has been waiting for this dream job for years!

Can you describe your job? I have the privilege to support staff in schools who interact and serve students with autism eligibilities who are on IEPs (Individualized Education Plans). This could be training, coaching and modeling a range of techniques/strategies/programs to help support students with autism navigate the education setting (and prepare them for life outside of school).

How does your work contribute to student success? The tools I provide schools and their staff members provide them with the resources they need to support students with autism.

What do you enjoy most about your job? I love seeing the range of staff members who genuinely care for and love their students with ASD. Everyone from administrators, classified staff, general education teachers and special education teachers -- it truly warms my heart! Providing training and strategies to schools, then seeing it in action with success the next time I visit, is a great feeling as well.

What is something people may not know about Autism Spectrum Disorder? Individuals with autism can be brutally honest and extremely funny! If you are able to make a connection with an autistic individual, your life will be enriched in so many ways.