Evaluating Systems of Support for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Session at the PBIS “Forum for Change - SW-PBS: Planning for Systems Change”
October 11, 2007
University of South Florida, Reno campus
Illinois Autism Training and Technical Assistance Project
I. OVERVIEW of TOPIC
Quick overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) ASD and Schools: Challenges for Systems Some Issues for Systems Change Some Evaluation Issues
EXEMPLAR --- Illinois DISCUSSION
Some Messages (Preface)
We are looking at a process of systems change…. changing the way we do the business of education. We are focusing on students with higher levels and intensities of support needs We are focusing on the group of students identified as ASD ---- but it would be a mistake to consider systems change for students with ASD as separate from larger systems change efforts
Preface - continued
Systems change is desperately needed… e.g., I know of NO school district in the country that is doing a fully adequate job for all students on the spectrum (though some are making admirable progress) We don’t have well-developed answers; just some issues to consider and some helpful models (e.g., SW-PBS) But one thing we know is that we can’t make good progress or good decisions without good data systems of evaluation
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autistic Disorder; Asperger Syndrome; PDD-NOS; Rett Syndrome; etc. Deficits in social interaction; verbal/nonverbal communication; overly restricted or repetitive behaviors/interests
All children with ASD are different --tremendous heterogeneity in level of functioning and learning styles
ASD and Special Challenges for Schools
Heterogeneity Dramatically increased prevalence High risk of problem behaviors Presence of massive amounts of information and misinformation regarding effective practices (e.g., via internet) Tendencies toward litigation
ASD & School Challenges - 2
Need for specialized services and supports
Structure; precise & highly systematic instructional procedures; technically sophisticated communication and social skills interventions
Essentially all students with ASD require tertiary supports, though this need can be mitigated with effective universal and secondary supports Need exists across all levels of functioning, all ages, all placements
Some School Considerations
Appropriate, effective services are needed at school level, but few schools can be equipped by themselves to address all challenges presented by all students with ASD
Need for District and State-wide Support District as likely “unit of analysis” for systems change
Major Issues in Systems Change
From systems change perspective, some key questions include: (A) What are essential features of schools that are well-prepared to deliver effective educational services for all of the school’s students with ASD? (B) What are the essential features of districts that are able to provide resources/supports to schools in order that they can deliver effective educational services for all of the school’s students with ASD?
(C) How can a district’s capacity to support its schools regarding services for students with ASD be best evaluated?
How can evaluation procedures facilitate the decision making needed to improve systems? How can we determine how well a district’s students with ASD are doing (dependent variables)?
Some Possible Features of Effective Districts
Delivery and outcomes of professional development Availability of ongoing technical assistance (coaching) Presence of functional data collection system
Student achievement; teacher performance; etc.
Clear policies and administrative commitments (superintendent; school board, etc.) Availability and efficient deployment of necessary assessment and intervention expertise (PBS; AAC) Family voice and family involvement Alignment of ASD services with general education curriculum Presence of district leadership team that explicitly includes consideration of ASD data and ASD supports
Some Possible Evaluation Concerns
Presence of critical features
Student achievement Student engagement with designated curricula Student social engagement Access to general education curriculum LRE Teacher satisfaction and feelings of competence Parent satisfaction Performance of individual schools
Some State Systems
An increasing number of states have implemented statewide systems for schools (and other systems) to assist in work with ASD… Some are truly state-wide and broad in scope, some are regional and more focused in services provided.
– – – – – – – – –
North Carolina Indiana West Virginia Florida Michigan New York Ohio Etc. And…
Recently organized nationally as NATTAP