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Dr. Sheri's Blog

Evidence-based Practices for Autism Spectrum Disorders

I know I said that my next blog would focus on the second of the three principles outlined in the Guiding Principles document from the U.S. Department of Education and I promise to get back to that, but I felt it was important to highlight another new document that is hot off the presses (does that still apply when it is in PDF? - perhaps, "hot off the digitizer" is more appropriate).
A couple of years ago, Carol Burmeister and I had the incredible experience of reviewing research articles to further the work of the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders as they seek to identify evidence-based practices for working with students with ASD. Although the review work was not easy, it was extremely rewarding. Carol and I have waited patiently (well, perhaps not exactly 'patiently') for the document reporting on the findings. I'm happy to say that the new report is now published and that educators can now access the information regarding what works in educating students with ASD.
The press release can be accessed at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill website. The full report in PDF format is also available for free online.

27 Comments to Evidence-based Practices for Autism Spectrum Disorders:

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Carol Burmeister on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 8:33 PM
Educators and parents—you are going to love this resource! Twenty years ago, when I began focusing my work on supporting students with ASD, I often felt like I was “building the plane in the air” with a student’s IEP team while trying to determine the practices and strategies that would be most effective. Unfortunately, there was not a lot of information out there to point us in the right direction. In the meantime, there have been several projects that have helped us to make good choices about efficacious practices. The report described by Dr. Wilkins is an update to one of those projects that reflects the most current evidence about which practices are proven to work best. This is a terrific tool that can be used to provide guidance for all of us as we work to improve outcomes for students with ASD. Check it out!
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You are doing good work, doctor! Despite extensive studies about Autism, it is still misunderstood and many people on the Autism Spectrum Disorder gets bullied and ostracized by the community. Being able to establish practices and protocols to guide educators on how best to work with people with autism. As you've said, parents of children with autism will be able to benefit greatly from this research, help them care for their exceptional child. Autism is not like Down Syndrome where there are tests to find out while the child is still in the womb. Autism behaviors manifest after birth, so it will be good for parents to have established guidelines to help them.


Dr. Sheri on Friday, January 24, 2014 9:04 PM
Carol, you were the person who originally shared this research with me and patiently explained the differences between this work and the National Standards Project. This is such incredible information and we are so fortunate to be living and working at a time when there are such great resources for educators! Thank you for making a difference in the lives of so many!
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Carol Burmeister on Saturday, January 25, 2014 3:31 PM
Thank you, Dr. Sheri. Always glad to help! While both projects are much-needed incredible resources to promote optimal learning for individuals with ASD, the National Professional Development Center’s (NPDC) project provides supports to increase the number of highly qualified personnel serving individuals with autism through sustainable technical assistance and staff development. On the NPDC website(autismpdc.fpg.unc.edu/) we can find valuable resources, including briefs for the evidence-based practices that include steps for implementing the practice as well as data collections tools. In addition, the NPDC collaborates with the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence Disabilities (OCALI) to provide free online training modules (www.autisminternetmodules.org) for many of the EBPs. I am aware of hundreds of educators and parents who have taken advantage of these wonderful resources and report that the lives of the individuals they support are enhanced as a result.


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You said that the report has been already published. May I ask where I can find it online? So, I will be glad to access the information regarding what works in educating students with ASD.
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