Overview of the Autism Training Center

The West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University (WV-ATC) provides training, information and support to West Virginians with autism, their families, educators, and other persons.

It is the philosophy of the Autism Training Center that individuals with autism can lead happy, productive lives and deserve the same quality of life that others without disabilities enjoy. The most effective way to support individuals with autism in enjoying quality life experiences is through the commitment, hard work, creativity and problem solving efforts of a team of people who live in the individual’s community and provide care, education and training for that person. Each individual with autism and their family or care providers are unique; therefore, instructional programs must be individually tailored to fit each unique situation.

The mission of the Autism Training Center is to provide education, training and treatment programs for West Virginians who have Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (NOS) or Asperger’s Disorder and have been formally registered with the Center. This is done through appropriate education, training and support for professional personnel, family members or guardians and other important in the life of a person with autism. Training shall be provided by highly skilled and appropriately experienced staff.

The Autism Training Center was established through the efforts of parents of children with autism throughout West Virginia. Spearheaded by Ruth C. Sullivan, these parents convinced state legislators of their need for intensive, individualized educational and behavioral training for families, educators and other individuals involved with the person with autism. In 1983, the West Virginia Legislature established the Autism Training Center at Marshall University in Huntington.

Since 1983, over 2500 families of children with autism have registered for services from the center. In the 90s, the center established two satellite centers, one in Fairmont and the other in Weirton, West Virginia, so that services would be more accessible in the northern part of the state.