The Syracuse District Autism Team ( DAT) received the Friends of Autism Team Award at the state Autism Conference in Kearney on March 30.
The award is based on commitment, vision, innovation, inspiration, and teamwork.
Three years ago, the Nebraska Autism Network offered training for districts willing to develop a team of teachers that would take presented information and implement materials in the district.
The Syracuse District Autism Team was formed and their commitment for sharing the information with others was implemented.
The team meets once a month to determine information to share with staff and to set up trainings for teachers and paraprofessionals. Before school starts each fall the team determines their goals for the year and trainings to provide throughout the school year.
The team’s vision is to create a caring, supportive, and understanding environment for all students and staff. Team members are always looking for new and creative ways in which to bring understanding of autism to the district which, in turn, will be carried over into the classroom environment.
Over the last three years the team has been driven with supporting staff in the understanding of students on the autism spectrum disorder.  
The team developed training which was geared towards Autism 101, behavior strategies, classroom setups that benefit students, raising expectations, picture charts and the use of routines, and sensory needs of the student with ASD.
The team developed a program book for each student with autism. The goal of the program book is to provide support for the general and special education teacher working with the student.
The program book is a journal of the student's learning in the educational environment that accumulates and shows changes made throughout the years for the student. It provides information on things such as strategies, interventions, accommodations, sensory needs, and information from parents that are specific to that student.  
When the student graduates from school, this book will be a resource for the student and parents as the child enters into their next phase of life.  
The team has begun promoting Autism Awareness Day in the school by developing t-shirts for the school and community to purchase, and creating activities which are used in classrooms and in homeroom groups.
In addition, the team supports the circle of friends groups that are created for our students with autism.
The Syracuse District Autism Team is currently working on ways to continue to support our students with autism, while providing training, education, and awareness to our students, staff, and those in the community.