Contact: Addie Mayfield
STARKVILLE, Miss.—The Hosemann Family Autism Foundation has created an annual scholarship award for graduate students studying and pursuing careers in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) through the Mississippi State University College of Education.
The nonprofit foundation was established in 2017 by Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and his wife Lynn, along with their children, to improve access to and the quality of educational, therapeutic, medical and behavioral health-related services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families in Mississippi. The Hosemanns have publicly and privately supported autism-related efforts within the state for many years. At MSU, they have previously worked with Dan Gadke, director of MSU’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic, and Kasee Stratton-Gadke, director of the university’s T. K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability, to provide support for these two campus-based programs.
Additionally, the foundation has awarded scholarships to over 40 Mississippi teachers, from all parts of the state, to take an introductory ABA online course at Holmes Community College, with the goal of equipping teachers with the skills necessary to effectively instruct children with autism and other developmental or behavioral disorders.
“Our Foundation’s goal is to grow the practice of ABA and increase the number of therapists in Mississippi so that individuals with autism and other disabilities may be better served in the state,” said Lynn Hosemann, president of the foundation’s board. “Mississippi State University’s dedication to this effort and vision for this program is very encouraging. We are thrilled to establish this scholarship.”
Continuing these efforts, the Hosemann Family Autism Foundation Annual Scholarship will assist students in MSU’s Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Foundations in hopes of increasing the number of ABA therapists in the state. Accordingly, in selecting students who will receive support from the award, priority will be given to Mississippi natives and students with a stated desire to remain in the state after graduation.
Candidates for the scholarship will be full-time, entering or continuing graduate students pursuing a degree leading to a career as a practitioner of ABA, including the Master of Science program in educational psychology with a concentration in ABA, and the doctoral program in school psychology. The inaugural recipient of the $5,000 scholarship will be awarded this spring.
“The Hosemann Family Autism Foundation’s contribution will go a long way in supporting the ABA program, allowing us to recruit and train high quality, talented future professionals who will go on to support families impacted by autism across the state for years to come,” said Gadke. “Kasee and I began working with the Hosemanns in 2014 to advance ABA services in Mississippi, as well as to grow related outreach services at MSU, and it’s very encouraging to see such valuable opportunities take shape through their generosity.”
Throughout his career, Lt. Gov. Hosemann has been an advocate for individuals with autism and other intellectual disabilities. He was instrumental in reforming Mississippi’s insurance laws to include coverage for autism treatment, as well as in the formation of the Mississippi Autism Board, which is tasked with licensing behavior analysts and assistant behavior analysts in the state. In 2018, Hosemann received the Executive of the Year Award by Autism Speaks, the nation’s leading autism advocacy organization, for his efforts with advancing autism services in Mississippi.
“Mississippians are so fortunate to have the Hosemann Family Autism Foundation to advance access for the autism community. They have been a longtime champion of assisting individuals with special needs, and their support has allowed educators and families to move forward following a diagnosis to ensure each child reaches their fullest potential,” said Stratton-Gadke, who was appointed to serve as a licensed psychologist on the Mississippi Autism Board following its inception.
ABA is the science of applying the principles of learning to change socially significant behavior. Considered to be one of the safest and most effective methods for treating children with autism, ABA is used to increase academic, communication, and functional life skills. It can also be implemented to decrease inappropriate or problematic behaviors that may be negatively impacting a person, while teaching replacement skills to support development and quality of life.
The mission of the ABA program at MSU is to prepare students to provide high quality behavior analytic services to a diverse population of individuals by offering excellent training, supervision, and research experiences. To learn more about the program and the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Foundations in the MSU College of Education, visit https://www.cep.msstate.edu.
For more information about the Hosemann Family Autism Foundation Annual Scholarship or additional ways to support the university’s autism- and behavioral disorder-related support services, contact Trish Cunetto, director of development for the College of Education, at 662-325-6762 or email@example.com.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.