March 4, 2015


Carr and Pitonyak Explore the NEST Model in NYC

The need for evidenced-based inclusive models for students with ASD is great. In February, Dr. Staci Carr and Cyndi Pitonyak had the privilege to visit the NEST for ASD model in New York City and meet the developers Shirley Cohen and Dorothy Siegel. This program originated in New York City in 2003 and is currently used in over 150 classrooms from kindergarten through tenth grade across the city. The goal of this model is to create a therapeutic educational model that is:

  • both inclusive and challenging
  • responsive to the unique combination of strengths and challenges that these students possess
  • can be implemented in diverse schools and districts

In addition, Carr and Pitonyak visited PSD 112 in East Harlem and met the dynamic principal Eileen Reiter. They found a complete sense of calm across the school, all students engaged, and students with ASD actively included with their classes. Carr and Pitonyak plan to bring the NEST model to Virginia to continue to improve services and the education of students with ASD in the Commonwealth.

Register Now for the Paraprofessional Online Training Course

Considering a new career in autism? Register now for the paraprofessional online course: Autism Spectrum Disorder for Paraprofessionals: Providing Effective Instruction and Supports. This 20 hour online course is required for all paraprofessionals working with students with autism in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The March and April classes are already full, so register NOW for the May offering before it fills to capacity! For more information and to register online, please visit the VCU-ACE website.

Virginia ABA Consortium

The Virginia ABA Consortium is currently accepting applications for the next cohort starting in September 2015! The Virginia ABA Consortium is a collaborative effort between four universities; George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Lynchburg College, and Old Dominion University. This Consortium offers courses in Applied Behavior Analysis as well as supervised experience designed to prepare participants to apply to sit for the BCBA examination.

The coursework is provided by each of the universities and students are able to attend classes at George Mason University, Lynchburg College, Old Dominion University, or Virginia Commonwealth University. The professor for each course will teach class from any one of the four locations. Courses will be offered using interactive videoconferencing and web conferencing technology so all sites may see, participate, and interact with the professor and fellow students. Students will attend a class each week at one of the four University locations.

Students interested in the program will be in a cohort of students, completing the courses as a group. A new cohort is scheduled to begin during the Fall 2015 semester. Courses would be taken across six total semesters (Fall, Spring, Summer, Fall, Spring, Summer). Students with master’s degrees in Education, Psychology, or Behavior Analysis will be given preference for admission.

You must apply and be admitted to the Virginia ABA Consortium to participate. Applications will be accepted using rolling admission but preference will be given to individuals who apply prior to April 1.

For more information on the Virginia ABA Consortium, please visit our website.

Make Improving Goal Mastery Your Goal!

A reminder that VCU-ACE offers a self-paced online course, Improving Goal Mastery through Data-Based Decision-Making! This course, developed in collaboration with Grafton Integrated Health Network, provides a structured and systematic approach to developing, implementing, and monitoring goals and objectives written for students with ASD.

There are many strategies for instruction and intervention with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to teach skills needed to lead independent, productive, and happy lives; yet, these practices are often implemented without carefully monitoring the effectiveness of instruction. In this course, a structured and systematic approach to developing, implementing, and monitoring goals and objectives written for students with ASD is provided.

The course:

  • outlines how to write objective and measurable goals that will allow educators to determine whether a student is making adequate progress
  • demonstrates effective data collection, including types and purposes of data
  • describes how to graph data and use graphs to make informed decisions
  • expresses how to review student performance on goals and objectives and make person-centered changes in approaches when needed to facilitate progress

Register now to take advantage of this great self-paced learning opportunity.

Three R's to Bullying Prevention

Bullying in the United States was once a silent epidemic which was endured by millions of children on a daily basis. The attitude “kids will be kids” was just part of normal childhood development. Today, bullying in schools is being recognized as a national health problem and safety issue for all students including students with disabilities. The prevalence of bullying in schools is roughly one in three students and can occur twice as often for students with special needs. Dr. Ernsperger will provide up-to-date research and specific interventions in order for all school professionals to create a safe educational environment and follow the legal requirements set out by the federal government on bullying and harassment prevention for students with disabilities.

Learn more about bullying and students with disabilities through this informative webcast. The webcast will air on March 10th at 3:30 p.m. To register, click here.