The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at USF partners with the Florida HIPPY program (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters)
The HIPPY program offers a structured home based model focusing on parent-child centered learning. This international parent involvement school readiness program uses an evidence based curriculum for children 3-5 years old. Parents, as the first teachers, are provided with the developmentally appropriate materials and books to help teach and strengthen their child’s cognitive, literacy and social/emotional skills.
Four years ago, CARD approached HIPPY about the idea of expanding the use of their curriculum to children with disabilities, specifically children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This had not been tried before and we felt that CARD constituents would greatly benefit from this opportunity. After HIPPY successfully received a grant from the Children’s Board in Hillsborough County, we were off and running to find 16 children for our pilot group. We have been tracking the data on the enhancements that CARD has offered to the HIPPY curriculum as well as child outcomes. Our goal is to have our participants school ready to attend the least restrictive classroom environment.
We had the honor of having Gayle Guyardo from Channel 8 news join us for a session with a local family that CARD and HIPPY serves. This story will be featured on September 23 on the evening news. I hope you can take a moment to watch and if you know a family in Hillsborough County with a child aged 3 or 4 who can benefit from this program, please have them contact Beverly King at firstname.lastname@example.org.