Autism Center of Excellence

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The Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) at Interactive Media Institute exists to address the increasing demands for quality services within the autism community. Rapid increases in diagnoses rates, combined with shortfalls in service availability are straining autistic individuals and their families. ACE is comprised of a group of interdisciplinary researchers, clinicians, and community partners working to improve the quality of life of autistic persons throughout the lifespan. ACE is committed to finding new ways to support autistic individuals via accessible intervention tools, targeted training initiatives, and educational outreach.

ACE works in three specific areas: Research, Vocational Training and STEM Education. In 2018, IMI ACE launched its virtual reality-functional communication activity (VR-FCA) research program. VR-FCA leverages VR and evidence-based social learning strategies to create accessible, affordable, and effective therapeutic tools that facilitate social communication and interaction skills. ACE is also developing a technical training course called Autism Works for young adults with autism to earn industry level certifications in C# programming language and 3D development. Finally, ACE organizes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workshops where students and young adults with autism can engage with various disciplines, find their own interests, and discover educational pathways.

Our work is done in collaboration with local and national organizations, and is financially supported by the Gerald and Inez Parker Foundation, Ellen and Edward Wong Family Foundation, the Northeast Arc The Changing Lives Fund and the Virtual Reality Medical Center. ACE is committed to innovating disruptive approaches that improve the lives of autistic individuals and their families throughout San Diego and beyond via rigorous therapeutic research and development, education and training within our autism community.

ACE Community Partners

ACE is looking for new team members! Internships and volunteer positions are open to students who want to make an impact. Learn more here.