Laurie Sperry and Katie Engelhardt Wells, who work in professional development at the University of Colorado Denver autism center in the School of Education and Human Development, have been working with a charitable foundation in India for the past three years, working to set up two schools for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).
Starting with an empty donated office building, they made several trips to train staff, run clinics for families and provide workshops. A documentary, "Hope – A Film on Autism" recently was made for Indian television about the two Asha Integrated Schools in Bangalore, India.
The women say they consider this the most "transforming event in our careers. Prior to the opening of this school, the children with ASD were kept at home. To see them in school and having field trips and experiences in their communities is truly a remarkable testament to the skill and dedication of their teachers against the backdrop of difficult circumstances."