MSU/ELI Opens Second Site for Children with Autism

ELI's Impact on the Student's Parents and Siblings

It's a Mighty Goal

Michigan State University will launch the second branch of an educational program designed to help young children with autism spectrum disorder.

The Early Learning Institute will open its second location in late August and plans to serve eight children ages 2-5 with ASD, along with their families. The new branch will be at the Grand River Elementary School Head Start program in Lansing.

The new branch will provide care in the Child Development Laboratories Central School near MSU’s East Lansing campus. This second branch will continue to reflect the values and the programming, which features one-on-one training sessions and offers classroom experiences with peers.

"It’s an approach that’s working," said Joshua Plavnick, executive director of the institute and associate professor of special education.

“Based on our behavioral observation data, we have seen great improvement in the children we work with. They're more talkative and interactive with others and are able to complete more independent tasks than they were able to at the beginning of the year."

Plavnick and others at the institute are pursuing other possible locations through MSU Extension programs and public school districts.

“I believe we are just starting to make a community impact," Plavnick said. "Local school districts have contacted us about future collaborations and are hoping to expand the ELI model to support ASD programming in school settings. We've recieved excellent feedback from families and community partners about the quality of our program. The goal is to substantially grow our community impact in the coming year.”

Both locations are looking to hire behavior technicians (bachelor’s level) and behavior analysts (master’s level). More information about the program and the positions can be found at

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