The Professional Development in Autism (PDA) Center provides training and consultation to school teams who work with students with ASD from diagnosis through 21. Our goal is to increase the capacity of school teams so that every child with ASD can access a high-quality public education.
Our approach to educating students with autism is based on the following beliefs:
Students with ASD are students first and possess a variety of unique strengths, challenges, and learning characteristics.
Students with ASD should be viewed in the context of their families when considering their distinct values and priorities.
Students with ASD are members of their communities and should be educated with their neighbors and friends.
Students with ASD deserve to be provided with meaningful access to the general education curriculum.
Students with ASD deserve educational programs based on the best available evidence.
Interventions based on behavioral principles are the cornerstone of an educational program and should be individualized to produce relevant outcomes.
Intervention and educational programs should be evaluated on the basis of measurable outcomes that are meaningful from the perspective of the student and his/her family and the educational team.
There is an ever changing and increasing body of empirically justified practice for students with ASD. It is the responsibility of educations and other providers to be fluent with current practices and implement them with fidelity, using data-based decision making to guide the direction of every program. Educational programs should be evaluated on the basis of measurable outcomes that are meaningful from the perspective of the student, his/her family, and other stakeholders.
1. Children with ASD are children first and have the same basic needs as typically developing children.
2. 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 and education about ASD and intervention.
4. All interventions for children with ASD must be built on evidence-based practices and must include ongoing data collection and evaluation.
5. Effective interventions for students with ASD must be comprehensive and of sufficient intensity to yield educationally meaningful outcomes.
6. Training of personnel to work with children with ASD is best conducted in ecologically and socially valid settings, utilizing aspects of adult learning, and providing ongoing follow-up and consultation.
7. Comprehensive training must include teams who participate in role-specific and transdisciplinary training.
8. Training must be individualized to every team, building on their strengths, addressing their needs, and helping them address unique circumstances.
9. Effective dissemination must include different types of activities, formats, and materials to meet the needs of different consumers.
10. Just as intervention strategies for children with ASD need to be evidence based, so do all training and dissemination efforts associated with this Center.