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What's New at ACE?

Community Based Skills Assessment Now Available!

The challenges associated with the transition from school services to adulthood for individuals with autism are well documented. Every individual with autism is different and as a result, there is no "one size fits all" plan for the path to adulthood.

The most important factor in creating a plan is to focus on the individual. His or her strengths, needs, challenges and preferences will play a critical role in ensuring a successful transition process. The CSA, developed through a contract with Virginia Commonwealth University's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, was designed to help parents and professionals assess the current skill levels and abilities of individuals with autism beginning at age 12 and continuing into adulthood in order to develop a comprehensive plan.

The CSA is the first tool to assess needs in the area of community-based living, from transportation to financial management to peer relationships and more. The tool is divided into three levels based upon the age of the individual being assessed. Eight critical areas of functional life skills will be assessed:

  • Career path and employment
  • Self-determination/advocacy
  • Health and safety
  • Peer relationships, socialization and social communication
  • Community participation and personal finance
  • Transportation
  • Leisure/recreation
  • Home living skills

The assessment uses both a criterion-based observation and interview-based process to measure the individual's knowledge, skills and behaviors.

More information:

Click here to download the Community Based Skills Assessment!


New Webcast Schedule Released

Our upcoming schedule of live webcasts was just released!

Progressing Through Transition explores the transitions of middle school, high school and college through the eyes of 19-year-old Justin George. Justin is a young man with autism spectrum disorder. He speaks of the unique challenges and opportunities he has faced.

In Using the Autism Program Environment Rating Scale in VCU ACE Model Classrooms, Dr. Carol Schall presents the APERS pre and posttest data to demonstrate the change that occurred in classrooms as a result of its use. In addition, she discusses the APERS tool and how it can be useful to other divisions wishing to use it as a standard program evaluation tool.

Lori Ernsperger, Ph.D. delves into the often ignored topic of girls with autism in her webcast series, Girls Under the Umbrella of ASD. In her first webcast, Diagnosis and Gender Differences, Ernsperger explores why girls are often undiagnosed or fail to receive appropriate services upon diagnosis. In her second webcast, Interventions and Practical Strategies Across the Life Span, she provides effective interventions and strategies for addressing specific issues which include friendship making, social communication skills, hygiene, personal safety, and self-determination skills.

Elizabeth Getzel provides the results of a study on the career planning experiences and overall college experiences of students on the Autism Spectrum in her webcast, In Their Own Words: The Career Planning Experiences of College Students with ASD.

These are just some of the upcoming webcasts. Check them all out on our Upcoming Webcasts page.


Website Training Updates!

In an effort to make our website easier to navigate, we have added a new and improved training and education section. This section allows users to quickly navigate the vast array of resources that are available through VCU ACE. A drop down menu provides a number of categories of trainings. These are:

Adolescents and Adults
Behavior and Sensory
Comprehensive Autism Planning System
Evidence-Based Practices
Feeding Challenges
Overview of ASD
Paraprofessionals and ASD
School Topics
Screening and Diagnosis
Social Communication
Technology and ASD

Let VCU ACE be your stepping stone to wonderful autism training!


ImPACT Online Communication Training

VCU ACE is pleased offer the ImPACT Online Communication Training through Michigan State University. This distance learning program is designed to help parents promote their child’s social communication during daily routines and activities. This parent-mediated intervention is a very effective strategy to improve communication challenges. Parents work closely with their child to help their child achieve these skills. The goal of the online program is to teach parents to promote their child’s social communication development during play and daily routines.

The ImPACT Online program is free to parents as part of a research study being conducted at Michigan State University that is examining the ability to provide evidence-based parent training online. The program is geared for parents of children with or at-risk for ASD up to 72 months of age who have a spoken language ability of about 6 months to 3 ½ years of age. The program consists of 12 lessons which are to be applied over approximately three to four months.

For more information on how ImPACT Online Communication Training can make a different for your child click here.


Skill Competencies for Professionals and Direct Support Staff in Virginia Supporting Adolescents and Adults with Autism

The Virginia Autism Council has released the Skill Competencies for Professionals and Direct Support Staff in Virginia Supporting Adolescents and Adults with Autism to guide best practice in supporting individuals with autism across the state. The skill competencies were created to steer personnel development for those individuals who support adolescents and adults with autism and their families in the Commonwealth of Virginia. These competencies address individual needs and program planning for adolescents and adults rather than diagnosis.

The competencies were created for direct support staff and professionals. They are broken down based on the role and experience of the individuals providing service. The Skill Competencies Tracker is provided to monitor growth as you evolve into a more proficient professional or direct support staff. The Tracker can be used by an individual for self-monitoring, by a supervisor to document professional development or by organizers of professional development activities to track training provided to professionals and direct support staff.

Click here to download the Skill Competencies for Professionals and Direct Support Staff in Virginia Supporting Adolescents and Adults with Autism and begin tracking your growth in the field of autism today!


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