Kristin Rohrbeck, the director of OUCARES, works with a child in the Center for Autism at Oakland University.

Kristin Rohrbeck, the director of OUCARES, works with a child in the Center for Autism at Oakland University.

Photo provided by Oakland University

Grant to help OU grow programs, expand services for those with autism spectrum disorder

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published April 4, 2023


ROCHESTER HILLS — The Oakland University Center for Autism recently got a financial boost to help address pandemic learning loss for students with autism spectrum disorder.

The university’s Center for Autism was awarded a $385,000 Oakland County Out of School Time Learning Supports grant by the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, in partnership with the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.

OU officials say the grant will allow the university to grow services in two areas within the Oakland University Center for Autism over the next two years — the Joanne and Ted Lindsay Foundation Autism Outreach Services, also known as OUCARES, and the Applied Behavior Analysis Autism clinic.

“The past few years have been extremely, extremely difficult for so many families across Oakland County and beyond,” said Kristin Rohrbeck, the director of OUCARES. “We’re confident that this grant will allow the OU Center for Autism to grow critical programs, provide increased social opportunities and offer an enriching environment for continued learning for children on the autism spectrum.”

The funds, according to OU officials, will support the expansion of therapy services to provide cognitive, life-skills and social-emotional development to youth with autism spectrum disorder after school; expand recreational programs that teach critical social, communication and emotion regulation skills; and grow the number of youths with ASD who can participate in summer camps. Rohrbeck said the expansion of services may also include more virtual programming for Oakland County families and increase the hours of operation for participants.

“All of these opportunities will help us mitigate the negative impact that the COVID pandemic has had on the learning loss of youth with autism,” Rohrbeck said. “We’re proud to be able to use these funds to continue to have a positive impact for youth with autism in our county.”

To implement the grant, Rohrbeck is working with Jessica Korneder, the director of the OU Applied Behavior Analysis Autism Clinic.

“With the increasing number of youths diagnosed with ASD and a lack of applied behavior analysis therapy providers available, we are very excited for the opportunities that this grant provides Oakland’s University’s Center for Autism,” Korneder said in a statement. “This grant provides us with the opportunity to expand our services and increase the number of youths we can support.”

For more information about the OU Center for Autism, visit