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Professional Development in Autism -- The PDA Center


Title: Early Childhood Outcomes Project Child Assessment Author: Gail Joseph Last modified by: cadavis1 Created Date: 10/11/2002 7:34:02 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Professional Development in Autism -- The PDA Center

Professional Development in Autism -- The PDA
Center https//
  • Susan Sandall, Ph.D.
  • Carol Ann Davis, Ed. D.
  • University of Washington
  • Laurie Sperry, Ph. D.
  • University of Colorado - Denver

  • Overview of PDA and Autistic Spectrum Disorders
  • Training Experiences and Case Study
  • Resources for Higher-Education
  • Examples of Resources
  • Questions

Professional Development in Autism (PDA)
  • OSEP funded center
  • Provides training and support for school
    districts, families and communities to ensure
    that students with ASD have access to high
    quality, evidence-based educational services in
    his or her local school district or educational

  • Autism is a collection
  • of overlapping groups
  • of symptoms that vary from
  • child to child Siegel, 1996, p.301

Disabilities on the Spectrum
  • Autism
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise
    Specified (PDD-NOS)
  • Aspergers Syndrome
  • Retts Syndrome
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder

What is Autism?
  • Issues in three areas
  • social interaction,
  • communication,
  • ritualistic behavior
  • A spectrum disorder different children affected
    to different degrees in each area

Social Deficits (DSM-IV)
  • Impairment in nonverbal communication (gestures,
    eye gaze, etc.)
  • Failure in developing peer relationships
  • Lack of spontaneous sharing of enjoyment,
    interests, etc.
  • Lack of social or emotional reciprocity

What You Might See
  • Complete lack of interest in others.
  • Very attached to certain adults, but no interest
    in peers.
  • Inappropriate interest in others.
  • Wants friends, but doesnt get it.
  • Lack of understanding of facial expression
    (sometimes with disastrous results).
  • Behavior problems related to lack of interest in
    social praise or social consequences.

Communication (DSM-IV)
  • Delay in or total lack of spoken language.
  • Impairment in ability to initiate or sustain
  • Stereotyped use of language.
  • Lack of make-believe play.

What You Might See
  • Use of augmentative communication systems or no
    communication system.
  • Children with very good language, but odd uses
    pronoun reversals, strange uses of words.
  • Children with odd sounding language.
  • Scripting
  • Repetitive, unimaginative play or no play.
  • Behavior problems because of limited language.

Restricted, Repetitive and Stereotyped Patterns
of Behavior (DSM-IV)
  • Abnormally obsessive interests
  • Rigid adherence to routines
  • Stereotyped motor movements
  • Preoccupation with parts of objects

What You Might See
  • Obsessions with trains, maps, letters, etc.
  • Hand flapping, vocalizing, spinning,
    self-injurious behavior.
  • Lack of interest in normal childhood
  • Tantrums and other behavior problems around
    routine changes.
  • Behavior problems around obsessions.

Other Aspects of Autism
  • Onset before Age 3
  • Male to female ratio 41
  • Mental Retardation
  • Sensory Issues
  • Savant capabilities
  • Is it increasing?? Yes. 1 in 175 is current

Aspergers Syndrome
  • Same issues in social interactions and
    repetitive/stereotyped behaviors
  • No general delay in language
  • Average or above average IQ

What does this mean for early childhood educators?
  • Earlier identification
  • IDEA

Where are the children?
  • Home
  • Child care
  • Special Programs
  • Inclusive Preschools
  • (Not yet Identified)

Child-focused Instructional Strategies
Embedded Learning Opportunities
Curriculum modifications adaptations
Quality Early Childhood Program
Child Focused Instructional Strategies
  • Children with ASD DO NOT learn from typical
    strategies employed in early childhood settings
  • Trial and error
  • Discovery learning
  • Instruction is direct and explicit
  • Instruction must provide for many practice
    opportunities across the day and across many days
  • Instruction should result in entrée skills

Programs for children with ASD should include
(Dawson Osterling, 1997)
  • Curriculum Content in
  • Attending
  • Imitation
  • Communication
  • Play
  • Social Interaction

Critical Program Features (National Research
Council, 2001)
  • Entry to the program as early as possible
  • Active engagement in intensive instructional
  • At least 25 hours a week, across the year
  • 11 and small group instruction
  • Family component
  • Low student/teacher ratio
  • On-going evaluation and assessment

Programs Contd
  • Supportive teaching and generalization
  • Predictability and routine
  • Functional approach to problem behaviors
  • Transition support
  • Family Involvement

Whats important for preschoolers with ASD?
  • Functional, spontaneous communication
  • Embedded social instruction
  • Play skills, with peers
  • Embedded cognitive instruction
  • Positive behavior support
  • Functional academics

  • The successful implementation of IDEA is perhaps
    most critically dependent on the quality of the
    people who implement the principles contained in
    the law-teachers, para-educators, related service
    providers and administrators, in cooperation with
    the parents and students.
  • Dr. Robert Pasternack
  • March 21, 2002
  • Testimony before the
  • U.S. Senate Committee on
  • Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

The Need for the PDA Center
  • The number of students with autism is increasing
  • Many models of service delivery yield trivial
    outcomes (Rogers, 1999)
  • The technology and skills necessary to implement
    sound programming is not widespread (Dawson
    Osterling, 1997 NRC, 2001)

Challenges related to educating students with ASD
  • The science related to effective practices is
    expanding rapidly, not always accessible, and
    often at odds with practices in general
  • While the numbers of children identified with ASD
    are increasing, the numbers of highly skilled
    personnel are not (NRC, 2001).
  • Some of the instructional strategies that are
    effective with children with ASD are relatively
    complex and demand sufficient practice to achieve

Where is the PDA Center?
University of Washington
Childrens Center for Developmental Enrichment
Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education
University of Colorado At Denver
University of Kansas
University of South Florida
Guiding Principles
  • Children with ASD are children first and have the
    same basic needs as typically developing
  • There is no single right way to educate a child
    with ASD children are individuals and child and
    family characteristics must be considered in
    intervention planning.
  • 3. Knowledge is power. One of the most
    effective techniques for empowering families is
    to provide them with accurate information.

Guiding Principles
  • All interventions must be built on evidence-based
    practices and must include ongoing data
    collection and evaluation.
  • Effective interventions must be comprehensive and
    of sufficient intensity to yield educationally
    meaningful outcomes.
  • Training of personnel is best conducted in
    ecologically and socially valid settings,
    utilizing aspects of adult learning, and
    providing ongoing follow-up and consultation.

Trainings Offered
  • Awareness
  • Implementation
  • Leadership

Training for Education Teams Site Based Training
Model Guiding Principles
  1. Site based training can be conducted at model
    demonstration sites or at the participant's own
    program. Training must be done in the context
    where the knowledge and skills being taught can
    be applied.
  2. The purpose of site-based training is to enable
    participants to gain deep understanding and to
    begin to develop proficiency in targeted skills
    and knowledge
  3. Site-based training involves trainers and teams
    of trainees who work collaboratively to meet the
    needs of students with autism and their families
  4. Site-based training can take different forms and
    utilize different types of training activities.

Training Experience and Case Study
  • Case Study

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Resources for Higher Education
  • Survey Results
  • Respondants
  • 66 from 30 states
  • 95 prepared special education teachers
  • 34 had a special course on ASD
  • 51.5 embedded information on ASD
  • 50 were research-based university faculty

As we proceed with the development of materials
  • When you are working with early childhood
    teachers, what are their questions or issues
    related to autism spectrum disorder?
  • Do early childhood teachers have formal education
    related to Autistic spectrum disorder (e.g.,
    college course, workshops, conferences)?
  • Where do early childhood teachers go for help or
    information when working with young children with
    (or suspected of having) Autistic Spectrum
  • See the last question on page 2 of your survey.
    What are the top 3 needs?

Information already covered
  • In current courses
  • Characteristics of autism
  • Positive behavior supports and interventions
  • Inclusive practices for preschool age students is

What IHE respondents want
  • Additional information on
  • Accessing the general education curriculum
  • Understanding popular interventions
  • Data-based decision-making
  • Education service delivery models
  • Transition to secondary services
  • Core content curriculum

Moderate need
  • Information in the core deficit areas associated
    with ASD
  • Communication
  • Social skills
  • Play/leisure engagement
  • Academics

  • Inclusive practices (only 30 cover this in
    coursework related to elementary education only
    20 cover this in cousework related to secondary
  • Accessing the general education curriculum (only
    22 cover this in courses)

  • YES!
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Reading lists
  • Small group activities
  • Computer based modules
  • Yes, sort of!
  • Lecture notes
  • Course syllabi
  • Written modules
  • Resource list

We know from teacher feedback
  • Even though course content on autism was covered
    in teacher preparation courses, it was not
    necessarily transferable to real life situations,
    especially when applied to children who learn

Research to Practice
  • Center for Evidenced-based Practice Young
    Children with Challenging Behavior
  • http//
  • Evidenced-based Practitioner

Research to Practice
  • Has the intervention been evaluated in a peer
    reviewed journal?
  • Has the intervention been replicated across,
    investigators, settings and participants?
  • Are there alternative interventions that are less
    restrictive, better researched, or perhaps more
    effective or efficient?
  • Is the intervention within the existing skill set
    of practitioners, or do they need prior training
    and consultation?
  • Has the intervention been shown to produce
    outcomes like the ones intended?
  • How will we evaluate the intervention if we
    decide to implement?

Training Modules
  • Module 1 Providing Effective Services
  • Module 2 Environmental Arrangement Strategies
  • Module 3 Visual Strategies
  • Module 4 Basic Teaching Principles
  • Module 5 Basic Teaching Arrangements
  • Module 6 Positive Behavior Support
  • Module 7 Assessment
  • Module 8 Instructional Programs
  • Module 9 Data Collection
  • Module 10 Social Skills

Tip Sheets and Research Briefs
  • Social Stories
  • Activity Schedules
  • Peer Buddies
  • Visual Supports
  • Incidental Teaching
  • Self-management
  • High-Probability Requests
  • Video Modeling
  • PECS
  • Time Delay
  • Independent leisure skills

Resource List
  • Educating Children with ASD
  • Accommodations
  • Social Skills
  • Evidence-based Instructional Strategies
  • Positive Behavior Support
  • Teaming
  • Website Resources

PDA Staff
  • Ilene Schwartz, Ph. D., Washington
  • Laurie Sperry, Ph D., Colorado
  • Rich Simpson, Ph. D., Kansas
  • Carol Quirk, Ph. D., Maryland
  • Bonnie McBride, Ph. D., Oklahoma
  • Diane Sainato, Ph. D., Ohio
  • Glen Dunlap, Ph. D., Florida

  • To get connected
  • Dr. Rina Marie Leon-Guerrero
  • University of Washington
  • Experimental Education Unit
  • Box 357925
  • Seattle, WA 98195
  • (206) 543-4011