November 3, 2017

Smart Shop: Identifying the Evidence-Based Practices in Commonly Used Curriculum

In this edition, we’ll continue to explore sessions from the Communities of Leaders in Autism (CoLA) Summer Institute. This month’s presentations cover EBPs, or evidence-based practices!

Sue Palko, Region 1 Autism Program Coordinator, and Karen Berlin, Training and Technical Assistance Center at George Mason University, presented Smart Shop: Identifying the Evidence-Based Practice in Commonly Used Curriculum. This presentation reviewed the importance of relying on scientific behavior knowledge and evidence-based practices when selecting and using curricula for instruction of learners with autism spectrum disorders and examined available tools to help educators determine if commercial products and curriculum are a “right fit” for their students. While no ASD specific tool for this purpose has yet been developed, school division leadership and educators can use the following tools to inform and guide their selection and decision making processes:

Hexagon Tool: The Hexagon Tool helps states, divisions, and schools systematically evaluate new and existing interventions via six broad factors: needs, fit, resource availability, evidence, readiness for replication, and capacity to implement.

Selection of Evidence Based Practices Tool: This Virginia Tiered Systems of Support selection tool provides guiding questions to help stakeholders determine if an intervention will be a “right fit” for its intended purpose within a division or school.

Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Excellence, (VCU-ACE): Based on the skill competencies for professionals supporting individuals with ASD across the lifespan, this website provides on-line training, resources, and links to training information on EBPs listed by NPDC (below) and the National Autism Center.

National Professional Center for ASD: This website maintains resources and information on specific evidence-based practices for ASD and provides free access to AFIRM online modules and resources for each of the 27 EBPs.

National Autism Center: This website houses the “National Standards Project” report which provides qualitative analysis and guidance about which interventions have been shown to be effective for individuals with ASD.

Autism Internet Modules: This website provides 45 free on-line training modules on evidence based practices for learners with ASD.

Other web-based resources to guide an educator’s selection of academic instructional resources and curriculum:

National Center on Response to Intervention

OSEP Ideas that Work

What Works Clearinghouse

Growing Capacity and Sustainability Through the Chesapeake Public Schools: Evidence-Based Practices Academy

Julie Greene, Lisa Trayford, and Cheryl Miller of the Chesapeake Public Schools Autism Services Improvement team presented Growing Capacity and Sustainability Through the Chesapeake Public Schools: Evidence-Based Practices Academy. The EBP Academy is a staff training project implemented in the third year of Chesapeake Public School’s ACE (Autism Center for Excellence) grant as an ASIT (Autism School Improvement Team) sustainability initiative. This project provides training for beginning teachers in Chesapeake’s program designed to meet the needs for students who display the characteristics of autism and who are just coming into these teaching positions for the first time. The training topics presented to teachers were: Characteristics of ASD, I’m Determined Tools, Room Structure, Motivation, Reinforcement, Goal Writing and Data Collection, Visual Supports, Communication, Social Skills, Behavior, Reading Comprehension, and Comprehensive Autism Planning System (CAPS).

Considerations for implementing this academy:

1. Twenty-six hours of professional development were involved in this project, which included nine days of training throughout the year.

2. Training content came from past ACE trainings but others can use content from the VCU-ACE website – MyACE Dashboard, webinars, webcasts, etc.

3. Training was delivered in an interactive format with processing and active participation occurring in the training and homework required to be implemented back in the classrooms with results brought back to the next training to be shared with colleagues.

4. Coaches followed up the homework assignments with their coaching teachers to ensure accurate implementation.

5. Teachers received Staff Development Points for participating in the trainings.

6. Pre- and Post-assessments were completed in classrooms that were being coached and all classrooms showed improvement overall after training.

Want to learn more?

VCU-ACE offers many different opportunities to learn about evidence-based practices!

Our Evidence-Based Practices to Teach Students with ASD course covers the Foundational Five—Antecedent-Based Intervention, Visual Supports, Systematic Instruction, Reinforcement, and Social Communication Interventions! Register here:

Need something specific?

Check out this hour-long webcast on visual supports!

Or check out these seminars on the Comprehensive Autism Planning System (CAPS):

Just need a refresher?

Check out our quick How To videos on EBPs like prompting, reinforcement, and more:

Don't Forget!!

This month’s webcast on November 14th will continue the conversation with Brenda Smith Myles as she discusses ASD & Regulation: The Brain, Meltdowns, and Evidence-Based Practices (Part 2). This session will overview the cycle and discuss evidence-based strategies that can be used at each stage. In addition, prevention strategies will also be discussed!