August 4, 2014


Cohort 2 Off to a Productive Start!

Since the six school divisions were selected earlier this year, our Technical Assistance and Training Associates have been busy working in each division completing baseline assessments to prepare for our recent Summer Academy. The Summer Academy for Cohort 2 consisted of two days, packed with intensive, division focused team facilitation. During this time, teams met in Richmond to review baseline data, develop vision, mission, and beliefs that address the unique aspects of the division, and conducted a gap analyses to ensure SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals.

Each division will have four to five goals in each of the following topic areas: Classroom Content, Classroom Evidence Based Practice, Policy and Procedure, and Division Coaching. While the goal areas are the same, the specific goals, initiatives, and action plans will vary by division.

Over this summer, school division Autism Service Improvement Teams (ASITs) have been meeting to continue their rigorous work on their goals, develop a list of training needs for their teams, and outline their plans for the upcoming year. Additionally, many ASITs have conducted meetings with division administrators to share their vision, mission, and beliefs, and to being to develop a partnership and collaboration to ultimately improve educational services for their students with Autism.

We would like to congratulate our Cohort 2 divisions (Alexandria City, Bedford, Chesapeake City, Franklin, Spotsylvania, and Warren) for their focused work at the Summer Academy and their “Hit the Ground Running” attitude that they have demonstrated over the spring and summer. We look forward to the 2014-2015 school year!

Don’t Miss the Three T’s of Transition Webcast!

The Three T’s of Transition Webcast will air on August 12 at 3:30 p.m. There is still time to register!

The VCU-ACE Statewide Goal Committee on Transition recognized that there are distinct domains that comprise this complex concept. Appropriately named, “The Three T’s of Transition”, these areas are as follows: Transition from grade-to-grade, level-to-level, teacher-to-teacher, transition to and from out-of division placement, and the transition that takes place when students leave from secondary education and embark into adulthood. This webcast will further define transition, discuss the process by which the subcommittees analyzed each domain, provide an overview of the committee’s white paper, and provide case studies that utilize several tools developed to increase consistency and effectiveness of the transition process. Register now!

Make a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in ASD Your Goal

It is time to begin thinking about registering for the fall for the Post-Baccalaureate ASD certificate at VCU. This 12-credit certificate program trains participants in the wide range of competencies necessary for the provision of effective educational programming. The course sequence enables personnel to develop comprehensive knowledge and experience in assessment, teaching strategies, and curriculum development. The certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorder is geared toward teachers, potential teachers, and related service personnel; however, it is available to all professionals working in human services who wish to gain expertise in this area. Click here for more information about this wonderful way to expand your knowledge of autism spectrum disorder. Courses begin September 8.

Second Cohort Completes ABA Coursework

The Virginia ABA Consortium is proud to announce the completion of our second cohort! Students attended coursework at George Mason University, Lynchburg College, Old Dominion University, and Virginia Commonwealth University and were able to complete the coursework as a cohort with students in all four of the universities. Students in the cohort had to complete six courses. These courses were intensive in nature and allowed students to learn about Applied Behavior Analysis. The courses covered the principles, application, assessment, and ethics of ABA. Students who completed the coursework also will need to complete a supervised internship experience and will then be able to take the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® Exam which, if passed, will allow them to become Board Certified Behavior Analysts®. We are proud of our students for their hard work and commitment to the VA ABA Consortium! Congratulations!

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.

Screening for ASD Seminars Now Offered Online

VCU ACE has recently added a series of five seminars on screening for autism spectrum disorder. The seminars in this series are designed to help participants gain the knowledge and skills to ensure timely and appropriate screening for ASD. Participants will learn about the importance of screening; screening recommendations; screening tools; the screening process, including what to do after the screening; and best practices for supporting a family. Resources are provided with each seminar and are available for download.

The seminars are for any person who wishes to gain more information about the importance of and procedures for screening for ASD. This includes pediatric health care providers, nurses, medical residents/ students, early Intervention providers, child care providers, and other professionals who work with young children.

With the understanding that professionals are extremely busy, each seminar is under 30 minutes in duration. They can be viewed one at a time until the entire series has been completed. Take advantage of this opportunity to expand your knowledge of Screening for ASD!