Dr. Barbara Becker-Cottrill, executive director of the West Virginia Autism Training Center (WVATC) at Marshall University, was recently named the Dr. Cathy Pratt Autism Professional of the Year at the 44th annual Autism Society of America Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Becker-Cottrill has served as executive director of the WVATC for the past 23 years. Among her accomplishments in this position was the development and implementation of a comprehensive service delivery program for families and their children with autism spectrum disorders.
“It was truly an honor to receive this recognition from the Autism Society and it has been a great honor to serve as the director of the WVATC,” Becker-Cottrill said. “There are few statewide programs in the nation that provide direct services and supports specifically targeted for families of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) of all ages.”
Becker-Cottrill is the founder and co-developer of the College Program for Students with Asperger Syndrome, sponsored by the West Virginia Autism Training Center and housed at Marshall University. She served as the principal investigator for the surveillance of autism grant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also is a co-author of the book “Autism: A Primer for Educators.”
Becker-Cottrill will be retiring from her position as the executive director on July 31. A retirement reception will be held at Foundation Hall on the Huntington campus of Marshall University from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, July 26. The public is invited to attend.
Becker-Cottrill says she plans to focus on autism research activities in the upcoming year. “We have also done a lot of collaborative work with the West Virginia Department of Education, Office of Special Programs in the past few years which has opened up training and coaching opportunities for educators of students with ASDs,” she said. “Marshall University has been a tremendous supporter of our work and I am deeply grateful. I believe we have come a long way in the provision of evidence-based services for people with ASDs and I know there is a long way to go.”