Missouri State University
Project ACCESS
Your Statewide Resource for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Scholarship opportunity for Project ACCESS hosted workshop by Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis

Project ACCESS is proud to host the Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis (IABA) in the presentation “Positive Behavior Practices: From Core Values To Core Practice ~ A guide to the application of positive interventions for challenging behavior” 

The workshop will be held in the Crystal Room of Kentwood Hall, 700 East St Louis Street, in Springfield, MO, on May 31, June 1 and June 2, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.

Project ACCESS has a limited number of scholarships available to cover the cost of registration only; we will not be able to cover travel or other expenses. The normal individual tuition for this training is $550. The deadline to submit a scholarship application is May 10, 2017, with recipient notification by May 12, 2017. Any Missouri public school educator may apply. You can apply for the scholarship online at the following link:

IABA Training Scholarship Application 2017

This 18-hour Positive Behavior Support workshop is hands-on and covers the basic concepts of behaviorism and Positive Behavior Support practices, along with implementation of strategies based on IABA’s Multi-Element Model, including skills teaching and behavior reduction strategies. The workshop will also provide orientation to generic Positive Behavior Supports applicable to a variety of situations. In addition, data collection strategies and behavior incident reports will be discussed and practiced and role-plays of various situations will provide hands-on experience.

Included in the scholarship are the registration fee, handouts, and light morning and afternoon refreshments; lunch will be “on your own”.  Participants will receive a Certificate certifying they have completed an 18-hour workshop in “Positive Behavior Support: From Core Values to Core Practice” and passed the associated knowledge tests.

The presenter for this workshop is Elizabeth C. Hughes, Ph.D., a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Director of the IABA in Los Angeles, CA. 

More information is provided on the brochure at the following link:  IABA Positive Behavior Practices

Please direct any questions about the workshop and scholarship opportunity to projectaccess@missouristate.edu or 866-481-3841.


Posted in Autism Training, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

#PAFollowTheReader ~ our weekly book recommendation: Do-Watch-Listen-Say: Social Communication Intervention for Children with Autism

Do-Watch-Listen-Say: Social Communication Intervention for Children with Autism by Kathleen Ann Quill, Ed.D., BCBA-D

From the description: This comprehensive intervention guide and accompanying activities are easily adapted to develop a curriculum for both children who are verbal and those who use augmentative and alternative communication, and it can be implemented at home or in the classroom. Excellent for educators and speech language pathologists, this practical, user-friendly resource gives you the methods you need to build social and communication skills in children with autism.

Visit the following link for more information about this book:  Do-Watch-Listen-Say

Other #AutismResources, #AutismTraining and #AutismSupportServices information may be found on our website:  http://education.missouristate.edu/access/


Posted in Autism Resources, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Project ACCESS provides #AutismResources, #AutismSupportServices, and #AutismTraining

Project ACCESS has been serving Missouri schools since 1985 as the state’s education and resource agency for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or other developmental disabilities. The agency was established by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to enhance the development of professional skills in Missouri’s educators serving students with disabilities. Our mission is to increase local capacity to serve students in Missouri’s public schools who experience ASD and related disabilities.

Project ACCESS provides support on a statewide basis via professional development trainings (in face-to-face and online formats), provision of resources, child-specific consultations with a Missouri Autism Consultant (MAC), onsite Autism Team Coaches via the Building Effective Autism Teams (BEAT) initiative and, when available, scholarships for workshops provided by third-party professionals to increase available tools for educators to utilize with their students.

Project ACCESS’ online resources also include our Community of Practice, Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Visit our website to learn more about any or all of the ways that Project ACCESS may assist you with providing effective support for our Missouri students!  http://education.missouristate.edu/access/

Posted in Autism Resources, Autism Services, Autism Training, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Updated free online Introduction to the Education of Students with Autism training module

Project ACCESS is pleased to announce our revised and improved free online offering of the Introduction to the Education of Students with Autism training module. The module has been updated to reflect the most recent data regarding students who experience Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This module is designed to give educators an extensive overview of autism as an educational disorder. Essential methods for assessing behaviors are taught and basic programming strategies are introduced. We have expanded the content so that it is equivalent to that contained in the face-to-face version of the training. This includes adding web-based augmentative resources and study materials. Topics include: definition of autism and Missouri’s required eligibility criteria for special education and related services; descriptions of sensorimotor integration issues, communication issues, social and relatedness issues; assessing behaviors for their messages; evidence-based interventions; behavior support; structuring and scheduling in the classroom; and essential features of effective programming for students with autism.

Coursework for this module consists of downloading supplemental writings, watching videos and submitting assignments related to the covered concepts. The assignments are graded and commented upon by an instructor, so the time to complete the course varies per individual. While the timeline is aligned with the two-day face-to-face offering of this training, the online module allows participants the flexibility to complete coursework at their own pace. It should be noted that participants must allow a reasonable amount of time for the instructors to assign grades.

The course does not have to be completed all in one sitting. Participants may complete a section and wait to proceed to others as time permits.

A pre-test and post-test are included in the course and participants must score 80% or above on the post-test. Participants will receive a certificate once they have successfully completed all course requirements.

While this course is open to anyone interested in supporting students who experience ASD, paraprofessionals will be able to access a version of this training module in late Spring 2017 that is adapted specifically to the perspective of paraprofessionals.

Interested in this training module? Please visit the Project ACCESS website at the following link: bit.ly/PAonlineIntro or email us at projectaccess@missouristate.edu

#autismtraining  #autismresources

Posted in Autism Resources, Autism Training, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New #ProjectACCESSfactsheet: “Please Don’t Take Away My Visual Schedule!”

13 Reasons to Use (and keep using) Visual Schedules and 4 Reasons Why They Work

We all like to have an idea of what is going to happen in our day. Children with autism miss many of the language and social/behavioral cues that help the rest of us understand what is happening. Children can become anxious, resistant and may misbehave simply because they have no way to anticipate the events that come upon them each day. Here are some ideas that may help with that.

Visual Schedules Help the Staff:

  1. In the long run, providing a child with autism a visual schedule and helping him/her learn to use it almost always makes the teacher’s job easier, not harder. Once the child has a visual schedule, his or her behavior will very often settle. Thus, a schedule does not make the child appear to be different; it helps him appear to be more the same as other children. Visual schedules increase on-task behavior and therefore increase academic learning time.
  2. Visual schedules quickly inform the child about the day’s and/or activity’s expectations. Visual schedules can help provide independence by removing the need for the student to ask others (particularly adults) about what schoolwork has to be done. The fact that the student functions more independently (“normally”) can increase his or her acceptance by peers.
  3. Because they provide a means for the child to anticipate upcoming events, visual schedules help to ease the student through transitions. Visual schedules provide a means by which adults can systematically introduce the element of change into a student’s day. Thus, a schedule is a means of reducing rigid behavior. In fact, used properly, they promote flexible behavior. Once the student knows how the visual schedule works, he or she will be less dependent upon consistency of staffing in order to function. Teachers or support people can be absent and the day won’t “fall apart” for the student.
  4. Visual schedules (written or pictured) work so effectively that you may be tempted to offer their advantages to other students in the class who don’t have an autism spectrum disorder, but who also could use help in learning to plan and organize themselves and their day.
  5. Many academically capable children, helped in their young years by the use of visual schedules, will later be able to transfer their understanding of agendas to computerized day planner systems.

Visual Schedules Help the Kid:

  1. The use of visual schedules capitalizes on the visual learning/memory strength that most children with autism have. The child will often remember what s/he has seen on the schedule, although what they have been told may be forgotten.
  2. The use of visual schedules is one support strategy that can provide the organization, structure, and predictability that are so essential to autistic individuals. When they lack such supports, autistic individuals find the world to be highly unpredictable and confusing.
  3. Visual schedules teach the importance of organization in a day. The child who learns to help prepare a visual schedule is developing a habit that will promote good organizational methods throughout life. Often helping to prepare the schedule daily gives the child a sense of some autonomy and control of the daily events in a world of confusing demands.
  4. Visual schedules may minimize the need to write as the daily agenda is being established; handwriting is often difficult for children who experience autism.
  5. Many academically capable children, helped in their young years by the use of visual schedules, will later be able to transfer their understanding of agendas to computerized day planner systems.
  6. The use of the visual schedule can be extended to teach the child long-range planning formats for multi-stage or multi-task assignments such as term papers or other semester length projects.
  7. The schedule can help the child learn patience and persistence. The alternating pattern of choice and work items within the visual schedule teaches the child that there are some required tasks within the day that are followed by more preferred activities. This “delayed gratification” is widely expected in our society, especially in work settings. The visual display may also serve as a reminder to a child that a preferred activity is only a few steps away after the completion of a non-preferred task.
  8. When the student learns to remove icons or check off completed tasks he is able to see his progress. This representation of accomplishment helps to build a sense of success and, thus, to improve self-esteem.

And Here are a Few Reasons Why Visual Schedules Work:

  1. Children with autism spectrum disorders often have difficulty sequencing ideas and procedures. The visual schedule demonstrates sequencing and promotes an understanding of it on a daily basis.
  2. The use of visual schedules capitalizes on the visual learning/memory strength that most autistic children have. Visual schedules are tangible and non-transitory; auditory language is fleeting. A child may not have heard/processed what the teacher said, but still has the schedule for reference.
  3. Some children with autism have obvious difficulties with language. Others may appear to have good or even excellent language skills. However, even the capable child with autism can have difficulties understanding spoken language for the following reasons:
    1. Slow processing time may interfere with the child’s ability to really “take in” verbal instructions and much of what is said may be missed.
    2. Children on the often spectrum are often dealing with sensory malfunction which may make it almost impossible for the child to attend to what is being said.
    3. Children with autism are almost always highly stressed by their lack of understanding of the social milieu in which they must function. The child may be so overwhelmed with attempting to deal with social events and expectations, that he or she may entirely miss language-based input. Stress can even be brought on by the experience of being physically close to other children. The child is least likely to process auditory verbal information when he or she is upset, worried or angry. There is a greater likelihood that s/he will be able to process visual information.
    4. Children with autism often have poor sleep patterns. Their sleep maybe brief or interrupted and they will, therefore, often be too tired to be attentive.
    5. Children on the autism spectrum may have great challenges in understand the pragmatics of communication. Gestures, vocal intonation, facial expressions, conversations pauses and emphases may be lost on these children.
    6. There is a tendency among children on the spectrum to take words literally. What they hear may not be mediated by an intrinsic understanding of the social situation, nor by an understanding of the personality and intent of the speaker. In attempting to understand something that has just been said, even the bright child may miss other parts of the communication.
  4. Many children with autism have a poor sense of time and have difficulty understanding the vocabulary of time and order (e.g. before, after, then, yesterday, first, second). These words are used daily however as the schedule is set up. Thus, use of schedules teaches time and time concepts and vocabulary directly, routinely and systematically.

This material is adapted from Brown, Margaret 30 Reasons to Use and to Keep Using a Visual Schedule or “Please Don’t Take Away My Visual Schedule.” (2002) Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders in British Columbia.
©Project ACCESS – 2017 – Edna Smith, Ph.D.
This fact sheet and other #AutismResources, #AutismTraining and #AutismSupportServices information may be found on our website:  http://education.missouristate.edu/access/

Posted in Autism Resources, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

#PAFollowTheReader ~ our weekly book recommendation: Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman

From the description: This book upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.  Going back to the earliest days of autism research and chronicling the brave and lonely journey of autistic people and their families through the decades, Silberman provides long-sought solutions to the autism puzzle, while mapping out a path for a society toward a more humane world in which people with learning differences and those who love them have access to the resources they need to live happier, healthier, more secure, and more meaningful lives.

Visit the following link for more information about this book:  Neurotribes

#GeneralASDInformationOther #AutismResources, #AutismTraining and #AutismSupportServices information may be found on our website:  http://education.missouristate.edu/access/

Posted in Autism Resources, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT)

Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT)
An ABA approach?
Lynn & Bob Koegel, 1987

What is PRT?     
Pivotal Response Treatment®, http://www.autismprthelp.com/, is a research-based intervention for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). PRT® is a naturalistic intervention model derived from Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). This is a Discrete Trial Training (DTT) method focusing on teaching easily generalizable and impactful, “pivotal” skills that are known to affect broad aspects of general functioning. Rather than target individual behaviors one at a time, PRT® targets four main pivotal areas of a child’s development resulting in widespread, collateral improvements in other social, communicative, and behavioral areas that are not specifically targeted. Lynn and Bob Koegel’s PRT is one of several Lovaas “classic DDT” adaptations generated after they worked with Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas at UCLA, home of the Lovaas Institute www.lovaas.com, in the 1970’s. Drs. Robert and Lynn Koegel departed from Lovaas and developed PRT® at the Koegel Autism Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, http://education.ucsb.edu/autism. Their website reports, PRT® is one of the few intervention methods for autism that is both comprehensive (as listed by the National Research Council; of the National Academy of Sciences) and empirically supported. It is recognized by the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders and the National Standards Project. Watch the Project ACCESS informational video on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MejrblUOiro

What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
Applied = Principles applied to socially significant behaviors

Behavior = Based on scientific principles of behavior

Analysis = Progress is continually measured and intervention adapted

In 1960 Dr. Lovaas was one of the first researchers to use applied behavior analysis as a treatment for autism developing his DTT technique including a specific skills curriculum. This is the basis for the ABA programming that is commonly referred to today, but is NOT the only way to incorporate Applied Behavior Analysis to student learning experiences. Many, actually most, specific treatment interventions follow the general theory of applied behavior analysis: Apply or try a strategy to target a specified developmentally appropriate Behavior and Analyze results (collect data) to determine its effectiveness. Other specific models of ABA intervention derived from the Lovaas “classic DDT” method include Drs. Ronald Leaf and John McEachin’s Approach available through the Autism Partnership established in 1994 near Long Beach, CA as well as M. L. Sundberg and J.W. Partington’s Applied Verbal Behavior Approach and subsequent Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS) published in 1998.

PRT developers, Lynn and Bob Koegel worked with Lovaas at UCLA. They eventually decided that it is “an insurmountable task to teach children every skill” (a prominent aspect of the Lovaas DTT method), so they choose to work the pivotal skills that are likely to affect a wide area of functioning.

PRT® targets four main pivotal areas of a child’s development

  1. Motivation
  2. Responsivity to multiple cues
  3. Self-initiations
  4. Self-management

PRT guiding principles:

  1. Family involvement is essential in the treatment process
  2. Treatment should be provided in natural environments
  3. Treatment must target key behaviors, i.e. pivotal behaviors
  4. Treatment must be implemented in the home AND school environment.

* Underlying feature = training should involve intensive engagement in natural settings throughout the day.

How it Works!
The first of the skills that the Koegels thought was pivotal is motivation; to increase motivation they reinforced attempts and used child choice of materials, again keeping data on outcomes for completion of the ABA format. The Koegels also did research on what made some of their children more successful than others, finding that the ability to initiate is another pivotal skill that makes a difference. One activity they used to increase initiation was to put a desirable item in a bag. The adult would ask, “What is this?” and then pull the item out of the bag and say, “This is a ….” After doing this a number of times. Bring out the bag, and pause (time delay). If the child does not say anything, start the prompt, “What….?” “What is….?” “What is this?” Keep repeating until the student is able to initiate “What is this?” When this initiation is solid. Use this game without the bag? Teacher touch something and say, “What is this?” Then teacher touches an object and wait (time delay) for the student to say, “What is this?” Keep this going until the student can independently say, “What is this?” in multiple situations and environments. The acquisition of the ability to ask what things are is huge!

  • In the example of teaching motivation, the guiding principles of PRT are realized by using intrinsic reinforcers rather than unrelated rewards, during activities that are meaningful and relevant to their natural environment. This example of reinforced choice-making could be easily transferred to home activities as well.  
  • In the example of teaching initiation (bag activity to ask what things are), the clearly outlined scaffold of steps is a structured way to reinforce attempts and gradually broaden the task to be more generalizable. Again, procedures like this could be implemented across a range of activities throughout the student’s day.
  • See more detail from Dr. Lynn Koegel on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5n9vlBtbji8

Who can use it?
Everyone! No special training required to implement the theoretical premise of PRT, just an understanding of the guiding principles and ABA intervention to facilitate learning of pivotal skills. A five level certification training program is available through the Koegel Autism Consultants at the website listed below.

Find more information @ http://www.autismprthelp.com/

  • For a comprehensive and free training module on using PRT visit autisminternetmodules.org , for a list of free trainings developed by (OCALI). You will be required to register, but the online training modules are free. Find the PRT module under the “Autism at Home” tab including instruction on using PRT in the classroom.

Contact Project ACCESS (866-481-3841; projectaccess@missouristate.edu) for additional research articles and references.

©Project ACCESS – 2017 – Shannon Locke, M.S., CCC-SLP
This fact sheet and other #AutismResources, #AutismTraining and #AutismSupportServices information may be found on our website:  http://education.missouristate.edu/access/







Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Section 504 Compliance Update 2017 per OCR

What is Section 504? Section 504 is from the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by, receiving funds from, or employed/contracted by Federal agencies. For U.S. Dept. of Education (ED) funded agencies, public schools, 504 is enforced by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), a component of ED. Each Federal agency, the ED for public schools, has its own set of section 504 Regulations.

Section 504 specifically, created and extended civil rights to people with disabilities providing opportunities for reasonable accommodations in education, employment and various other settings. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 broadened the interpretation of disability, hence a conforming amendment to the Rehabilitation Act followed that affects the meaning of disability in 504 eligibility. Section 504 and the ADA are antidiscrimination laws that do not provide any type of funding. Separate from IDEA, the statute that funds special education programs.

Section 504 states that no qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination and the OCR enforced Section 504 Regulations that apply to public education programs require a school district to provide a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability. These Regulations include requirements for reasonable accommodation, program accessibility, and effective communication with provision of regular or special education and related aids and services as needed designed to meet the student’s individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met. 

Who IS part of a Section 504 Team?

“Group of people knowledgeable about the student, the evaluation data, and the placement options.”

Who is eligible for Section 504? 504 Plan eligibility is essentially a Two-step process:

  1. Determine existence of an eligible disability under Section 504.
  2. Determine what accommodations, if any, a student might need as a result of the disability.

Step 1 existence of disability considerations: (calls for evidence the disability “substantially limits one or more major life activities” and a record of impairment)

  1. Certain conditions are presumed impairments that define a disability under Section 504, without requiring ‘extensive analysis’ or need for further evidence of limiting major life activities.
    – Newly added – dyslexia, other specific learning disabilities, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) all 3 types: inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, combination.
                  NOTE: OCR’s ADHD guidance confirms automatic disability, “unless there is evidence to the contrary,” a student with an ADHD diagnosis is assumed  impaired under 504.
    – Other Physical or Mental Impairments include but are not limited to: contagious and noncontagious diseases and conditions: orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, and cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, intellectual disability, emotional illness, HIV infection (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), tuberculosis, drug addiction, and alcoholism. 
    When no one is challenging “a public entity’s” (the school’s) failure to provide reasonable modification under § 35.130(b)(7), the evaluation of coverage can be made solely under the “regarded as” prong of the definition of disability, which does not require a showing of an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity or a record of such an impairment.
    . Major life activities include, but are not limited to: (i) Caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, reaching, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, writing, communicating, interacting with others, and working; and (ii) The operation of a major bodily function.
    Schools can’t require parents to provide a medical diagnosis for 504 planning consideration/eligibility. If the school feels the diagnosis is absolutely needed, then the district is responsible for the cost of obtaining it.

*While certain conditions are presumed impairments, a diagnosis alone does not automatically mean a student has a disability needing a 504 Plan. An individualized evaluation is still a MUST to determine HOW the Disability impacts the particular student in order to determine Step 2.

Step 2 determination of necessary accommodations considerations:

  1. An individualized evaluation for 504 planning does not always need formal assessments, just information specific to the individual student in regard to HOW the Disability affects his/her participation in “major life” or school activities compared to their non-disables peers.
  2. An individualized evaluation for 504 planning shouldn’t require scientific, statistical, or medical evidence (NOT the same as IDEA eligibility determination procedures).
  3. Interpreting evaluation data for placement and accommodation decisions shall:
    1) draw upon information from a variety of sources, including aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social or cultural background, and adaptive behavior,
    2) establish procedures to ensure that information obtained from all such sources is documented and carefully considered,
    3) ensure that the placement decision is made by a group of persons, including persons knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the evaluation data, and the placement options, and
    4) ensure that the placement decisions shall provide education “with persons who are not handicapped to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the handicapped person” for both academic and nonacademic and extracurricular school activities or make available comparable facilities as needed.
  4. Reevaluation of students’ 504 Plans are required periodically and before a significant change in placement. Here are 6 situations that call for Reevaluation by the 504 Team:
    1) periodically, at least once every 3 years but OCR indicates once a year is reasonable in order to review that accommodations are still working and discuss changes or clarify ambiguity,
    2) when a student transfers or changes schools,
    3) when changes occur that could impact FAPE, essentially if there are new needs that develop
    4) before disciplinary action results in significant change in placement, as with an IDEA MDR
    5) before nondisciplinary changes in placement such as hospitalization (before 10th missed day)
    6) prior to exiting student from 504, except for graduation. There are no “self-terminating” 504 plans.

Bottom line take-aways:

1 – It is now easier for individuals to obtain protections under 504 Plan/the ADA.

2 – Certain conditions are presumed impairments. Parents may be asking schools to do more relating to added conditions presumed impairments; Dyslexia, ADHD, and other Specific Learning Disabilities.

3 – Determining disability requires an individualized evaluation. Schools can’t require parents to provide a medical diagnosis and OCR has stated a medical diagnosis is Not required, “regarded as” is sufficient with documentation of the impact on the students’ access to FAPE.

4 – Schools have an affirmative child find duty. OCR’s guidance identifies “referral red flags” regarding possible ADHD to add to staff trainings:

  • “considerable restlessness or inattention inappropriate for the student’s age and grade level;
  • trouble organizing tasks and activities;
  • communication or social skill deficits.”

5 – All disability services must be individualized including Section 504 plans, the diagnosis does not guide the modifications/accommodations.

The regulations implementing Section 504 in the context of educational institutions appear at U.S. Department of Education Title 34 Education Subtitle B Regulations of the offices of ED Chapter 1 OCR, ED Part 104 – nondiscrimination on the basis of handicap in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance (34 C.F.R. Part 104) https://www2.ed.gov/policy/rights/reg/ocr/edlite-34cfr104.html

Updates considering Title II of the ADA is it relates to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Section 504

Title II can intertwine with Section 504 and IDEA issues in these 3 new key issues affecting schools now:

  1. Service Animals

          -entities may not require a student to provide documentation that an animal has been trained as a service animal.

          -service animals must be under control of the handler (either tethered or under voice or signal control at all times)

          -districts may ask “Is the animal required because of the disability?” AND “What work or task is the animal trained to perform?”

  1. Effective Communication

          –district must take steps to ensure that communication with students with disabilities is as effective as communication with students without disabilities.

          –therefore, may have to provide auxiliary aids or services for communication not otherwise necessary for FAPE

          –AND primary consideration must be given to individual’s preferred auxiliary aids or services.

  1. Accessible Technology

          -Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division is currently considering a rule change that would create web accessibility standards for federally funded agencies.

          -Although proposed standards are still under consideration, OCR is currently investigating complaints stating the remedy to fix the issue is the WCAG 2.0 AA standard. https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag.php

©Project ACCESS – 2017 – Shannon Locke, M.A., CCC-SLP

This fact sheet and other #AutismResources, #AutismTraining and #AutismSupportServices information may be found on our website:  http://education.missouristate.edu/access/


Posted in Autism Resources, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

#PAFollowTheReader ~ our weekly book recommendation: Young Children with Special Needs

Young Children with Special Needs by Stephen R. Hooper and Warren Umansky

From the description:  Young Children with Special Needs is the field’s classic book on early childhood special education. Taking a unique perspective, it offers readers a solid foundation in child development and addresses how children with special needs develop differently. Rich with expertise, this edited work features contributions from leading educators within each developmental domain. Chapters explore assessment and early intervention, and the role diversity and technology play in both. New to this edition includes an increased emphasis on family partnerships and a separate chapter dedicated to fine-motor and oral-motor development.


Visit the following web page for more information: Young Children with Special Needs

#Curriculum #EvidenceBasedIntervention

Other #AutismResources, #AutismTraining and #AutismSupportServices information may be found on our website:  http://education.missouristate.edu/access/

Posted in Autism Resources, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The SCERTS® Model

The SCERTS® Model ~ Prizant, Wetherby, Rubin & Laurent, 2007

What is SCERTS?       

This is an educational model or framework, having a specific set of core values and guiding principles, which prioritize and systematically address three domains relevant to Autism intervention through three clearly defined levels of communicative development, embracing other focused, evidence-based approaches. The SCERTS model is NOT exclusive of other educational approaches or strategies. The SCERTS model is NOT an assessment to determine presence of Autism. The SCERTS model IS relationship-based, person centered, and culturally sensitive. The SCERTS model IS a developmentally-based curriculum providing a “menu” of goals and objectives to help children with Autism become confident social communicators and prevent behaviors that interfere with learning and building relationships. The SCERTS model IS also the only EBP specifically endorsed by individuals with ASD through the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN).

SCERTS core values and guiding principles:

  1. Highest priority – Development of spontaneous, functional communication abilities and emotional regulatory capacities.
  2. Principles and research on child development frame assessment and educational efforts. Goals and activities are developmentally appropriate and functional.
  3. All domains of a child’s development (e.g., communicative, socioemotional, cognitive, and motor) are viewed as interrelated and interdependent. Assessment and educational efforts must address these relationships.
  4. All behavior is viewed as purposeful serving a variety of functions (e.g., communication, emotional regulation). For children who display unconventional or problem behaviors, there is an emphasis on developing a range of supports for emotional regulation.
  5. A child’s unique learning profile of strengths and weaknesses determines appropriate accommodations for facilitating competence in the domains of social-communication and emotional regulation.
  6. Natural routines across home, school, and community environments provide the contexts for learning and for developing positive relationships. Progress is measured in daily experiences and routines.
  7. It is the primary responsibility of professionals to establish positive relationships with children and with family members. All children and family members are treated with dignity and respect.
  8. Family members are considered experts about their child. Assessment and educational efforts are viewed as collaborative processes with family members.

SCERTS is an acronym that stands for the three competency domains addressed in the SCERTS curriculum for students with Autism:

SC – Social Communication ER – Emotional Regulation TS – Transactional Support

SC = “how people engage people” ~ B. Prizant (spontaneous, functional communication, emotional expression, and development of secure and trusting relationships)

ER = “most available for learning and engagement” ~ B. Prizant (ability to maintain a well-regulated emotional state to cope with everyday stress)

TS = systematic ways to support children with ASD and their families and each other as service providers

SCERTS identifies three levels of communicative development “partner stages” corresponding to three curricular levels of goals and objectives, and the model itself emphasizes multi-modal communication:

  1. Social Partner –defined as individuals who use “pre-symbolic means to communicate”. Performance expected from 0-18 months of typical development or generally considered nonverbal.
  2. Language Partner –defined as individuals using “symbolic means to communicate”. Specifically, students have at least 3 to 100 differing and accurate intentional forms of functional communication.
  3. Conversational Partner –defined as individuals who use “sentence and conversational level discourse to communicate”. This group also includes those students who would perform within normal limits on language assessments.

Through these fundamental aspects the SCERTS model is a Comprehensive Educational Approach that prioritizes students’ present level of abilities as a building block to address the most significant challenges individuals with Autism face, social communicative skills, rigidity, & repetitive behaviors, through the lens of emotional regulation in a coordinated multidisciplinary team addressing student and family and educator needs to facilitate the most positive long-term learner outcomes as indicated by the US National Research Council (2001).

How it Works!

  1. The child’s “partner stage” of development is determined then,
  2. observations are conducted using the SCERTS Assessment Process (SAP) in each of the three competency domains addressed in the SCERTS curriculum (SC, ER, TS) and scored 0-not met, 1-inconsistent or with help, 2-met consistently.
  3. Four to Eight items scored as ‘0’ or ‘1’ from SC and ER categories are selected as the goals for intervention, and the coordinating TS partner goals for interpersonal and learning support by educators are selected. (SAP Activity Planning Form also avail to assist with assigning TS responsibilities to educators/partners)

!The SAP observation assessment is also the “menu” of curricular goals!

  1. Intervention begins for goals selected using any other EBP strategies appropriate for the child, adhering to SCERTS core values and data is collected on student progress and educator/personnel accountability providing the selected Transactional S The SCERTS Assessment, SAP form can also be used at quarterly intervals to monitor progress.

Who can use it?

Everyone! No special training required, just a belief in the core values to guide your collaborative intervention using other focused EBP and use of the SCERTS manuals. Introductory and advanced trainings available at www.barryprizant.com. Other comprehensive programs can also be incorporated such as the Division TEACCH – Structured Teaching method and the Ziggurat Model. See additional FACT sheets in these and the overlap.

Find more information @

www.SCERTS.com also has a hyperlink to A Slideshow Introduction to the SCERTS® Model (PPT) (http://www.scerts.com/docs/scerts_introduction_june_2010.ppt )

http://www.autismpodcast.org/episode-60-the-scerts-model-with-dr-barry-prizant/ Audio Podcast

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKVttP3Rfag YouTube video of an early intervention group using SCERTS

More research: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-8578.12030/epdf in the British Journal of Special Education, 2013 “Autism and multidisciplinary teamwork through the SCERTS Model” and http://www.scerts.com/docs/scerts_good_autism_practice_may_2010.pdf in Good Autism Practice, May 2010

©Project ACCESS – 2017 – Shannon Locke, M.S., CCC-SLP
#ProjectACCESSfactsheet     #EvidenceBasedIntervention 

This fact sheet and other #AutismResources, #AutismTraining and #AutismSupportServices information may be found on our website:  http://education.missouristate.edu/access/








Posted in Autism Resources, Uncategorized | Leave a comment