About Us

Welcome to the About Us section of the website. Here you can learn how VCU-ACE works to improve services to those with ASD through discovery and implementation of evidence-based practices.

Student working with her teacher


VCU-ACE is a state and national leader in developing, cultivating, and disseminating knowledge to increase implementation of research-based practice needed to effectively support individuals with autism spectrum disorder to lead quality lives in their home, school, community and work.


VCU-ACE improves services and supports for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by promoting the implementation of research-based practices in schools and the community through training, technical assistance, research, and collaboration.

Training includes providing professional development to expand the expectations, knowledge, and skills of those who live with, educate, and support individuals with ASD. It supports the sustainable implementation of research-based practices by providing Instructional activities and resources to anyone who wants to learn more about ASD and to leaders who guide professional development initiatives in home, school, community and work.

Technical assistance includes facilitating, implementing, and evaluating systems-change initiatives customized to the unique needs of stakeholders in educational and community environments, regions, and the Commonwealth. It supports the sustainable implementation of research-based practices by providing team facilitation, coaching, strategic planning, and project management in agencies, school divisions and direct services settings to build the capacity and confidence of those who support individuals with ASD.

Research includes asking questions, seeking answers, and disseminating findings on important socially significant issues impacting individuals with ASD across the lifespan to improve quality of life. Research is conducted in real-world settings using sound research methodologies.

Collaboration includes maintaining a spirit of cooperation in our interactions with colleagues and developing and sustaining partnerships with individuals with ASD and their families as well as local, commonwealth, and national entities to enrich, develop, disseminate, and deliver training, technical assistance, and research activities.

researh, training, technical assistance, collaboration continuum training technical assistance collaborators research

Core Values

We believe all individuals with ASD have the right to:

  • Access high quality supports and services across the lifespan that will enable them to lead lives of their choosing
  • Be treated with dignity and respect in all aspects of their life, especially when receiving supports and services
  • Exercise choice and control in their lives to the greatest extent possible
  • Lead self-determined lives
  • Communicate with a system that supports full participation across environments and people
  • Choose meaningful relationships
  • Receive an education that prepares them for life beyond high school including postsecondary education, employment, and engaged community citizenship
  • Be contributing members of their communities and be valued friends, co-workers, and family members

We know that:

  • Research-based instruction and supports to individuals with ASD in home, school, community, and work settings results in those individuals leading quality lives.
  • All Virginia Public Schools can educate all of Virginia's students to become active and productive members of their communities.
  • High expectations, knowledge, and skills improve the lives of all individuals, especially those with ASD.
  • The education, inclusion, and support of individuals with ASD are a shared responsibility by all community members.
  • Collaboration and cooperation among individuals with ASD, families, educators, and community partners ensures diverse and comprehensive innovations across the lifespan.

We are committed to:

  • Expanding our own and others' knowledge
  • Enhancing the implementation of research based practices needed to effectively support individuals with ASD across the lifespan to lead quality lives in their home, school, community and work
  • Discovering real world solutions to real world problems through research in home, school, community, and work settings
  • Utilizing research-based evidence to guide the implementation of foundational practices and supports that result in meaningful outcomes for individuals with ASD
  • Ensuring kind, compassionate, person-centered services
  • Promoting strong inclusive communities that embrace all individuals, including those with ASD, for the gifts they offer