Research and Best Practices

The ASD Nest Model: A Framework for Inclusive Education for Higher Functioning Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
This well-researched and evidence-based program was formulated in response to the severe shortage of educational programs designed for higher-functioning school-age children with ASD, which often leads to inappropriate placement, and a lack of supports...all of which inevitably results in poor educational experiences. In an effort to prevent this happening, this program uses a positive behavior support approach and incorporates strategies that address areas of difficulties common in children with autism spectrum disorder, specifically sensory functioning, social relatedness, self-regulation, managing anxiety, and selective cognitive problems. This program helps children with ASD function comfortably and successfully in mainstream settings in their schools and communities, whenever feasible, with decreased need for professional support. Having ASD does not need to result in a lifetime of dependency on others. We can give your loved one the tools needed to gain a lifestyle of healthy independence. With results-driven strategies on every page, be sure to add this must-read title to your ASD resources. Available for purchase from AAPC Publishing.

Everyday Classroom Strategies and Practices for Supporting Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
This practical approach to working with students with autism spectrum disorders helps demystify the processes needed to help these students succeed and gives teachers the supports to plan appropriately for them. Adopted by several schools and districts, this timely autism spectrum disorder resource clearly communicates how to create a classroom in which every learner succeeds with specific and easy-to-implement strategies for students who require minimal supports, as well as those who require more intense interventions. In compliance with current trends in education, it incorporates evidence-based practices, positive behavior supports, and uses Response to Intervention (RtI). The proper education allows educational professionals and other important caretakers to provide individuals with autism spectrum disorder with proper care. Available for purchase from AAPC Publishing.

Autism After 16
Autism After 16 is dedicated to providing information and analysis of adult autism issues, with the emphasis on analysis. Its website offers information on programs, documents, and products that for adults with ASD to help them and their families make sense of what’s out there. A major focus is Transition issues, since there are so many adults with ASD in the process of struggling with transition.

Autism Internet Modules
The AIM project provides parents and professionals with the up-to-date information they need to help individuals with ASD achieve their highest potential. This series of online learning modules includes information on assessment and identification of ASDs, recognizing and understanding behaviors and characteristics, transition to adulthood, employment, and numerous evidence-based practices and interventions. All module content has been written by ASD experts from across the U.S. In addition, each module is designed to be consistent with research on how adults learn; information is presented at a universal reading level, and interactive activities both reinforce knowledge and teach learners how to make the latest research applicable to real life.

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
CAST is an educational research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning.  In addition to information and research about Universal Design for Learning, CAST has online tools that help educators build options and flexibility into each element of the curriculum (goals, methods, materials, and assessments) in order to reach and engage all students.

Council for Exceptional Children
CEC is a professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the success of children with exceptionalities. CEC accomplishes its mission through advocacy, standards, and professional development. CEC is a membership organization with a very reasonable dues structure. All classes of membership receive CEC’s official journal, Teaching Exceptional Children, which provides teachers of students with disabilities information about practical methods and materials for classroom use. CEC also publishes original research and analyses in Exceptional Children. Members may also join CEC’s special interest divisions, many of which also publish journals and magazines with research and practical information of interest to educators. Specialized divisions include the Division for Learning Disabilities which publishes Learning Disabilities Research and Practice; the Council for Children with Behavior Disorders, which publishes Behavior Disorders and the Beyond Behavior magazine; the Division for Communicative Disabilities and Deafness which publishes the Communicative Disorders Quarterly; the Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities which publishes Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities; and The Division for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learners which publishes Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners.

The IRIS Center
The IRIS Center is a national center funded by the USDOE’s Office of Special Education Programs that aims to provide high-quality resources for college and university faculty and professional development providers about students with disabilities. IRIS provides free, online, interactive training enhancements that translate research about the education of students with disabilities into practice. The IRIS Resource Locator currently has training modules, case studies, activities, information briefs and/or podcasts on the following topics:  accommodations, assessment (including progress monitoring), assistive technology, behavior and classroom management, collaboration, content instruction, differentiated instruction, disability, diversity, learning strategies, math, RTI (including early interventions), reading/literacy/language arts, related services, school improvement/leadership, and transition. Many modules are available in English and Spanish.

Life Space Crisis Intervention
Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) is a nationally recognized, professional training and certification program sponsored by the Life Space Crisis Intervention Institute of Hagerstown, Maryland. LSCI is an advanced, interactive therapeutic strategy for turning crisis situations into learning opportunities for children and youth with chronic patterns of self-defeating behaviors. LSCI views problems or stressful incidents as opportunities for learning, growth, insight, and change. This non-physical intervention program uses a multi-theoretical approach to behavior management and problem solving. LSCI provides staff a roadmap through conflict to desired outcomes using crisis as an opportunity to teach and create positive relationships with youth.

The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk
The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk (MCPER) is dedicated to generating, disseminating, and supporting the implementation of empirically validated practices to improve academic, behavioral, and social outcomes for all learners. Provides information on research and other projects in a number of areas including, autism spectrum disorders, deaf and hard of hearing, English language learners, math for learning disabilities and differences, reading and response to intervention.  Noted researcher Sharon Vaughn heads the Reading Institute.

National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials
Accessible instructional materials, or AIM, are materials that are designed or converted in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of student variability regardless of format (print, digital, graphic, audio, video). This website provides information about accessible instructional materials, how AIM and Assistive Technology (AT) work together and how to obtain and create alternate format materials to support access and enable participation in the general curriculum. It also has information about hardware and software resources and federal and state policies and research as well as specific resources for students who are blind or have low vision and students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

National Center on Intensive Intervention
The National Center on Intensive Interventions provides information, research, tools and other resources designed to address the needs of students with severe and persistent learning or behavior difficulties. These interventions are characterized by increased intensity (e.g. smaller group, expanded time) and individualization of instruction and behavioral intervention for students who have been non-responsive to traditional approaches.  The Center's approach to intensive interventions is data-based individualization DBI. Practical information for classroom teachers includes strategies and sample resources to address reading, math and behavior issues as well as instructional videos.

National Center on Universal Design for Learning
The National Center on Universal Design for Learning provides information about UDL, guidelines and the research framework on which they are based, implementation of UDL in the classroom and videos showing how UDL is used in instruction.

National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders
The goal of the NPDC, formerly funded by the USDOE’s Office of Special Education Programs, was to promote the use of evidence-based practices (EBPs) for children and youth with ASD, birth to 22 years of age. This was accomplished through a comprehensive professional development process at state and local levels. The NPDC used a rigorous criteria to classify 27 focused interventions as EBPs in 2014. The 27 identified EBPs have been shown through scientific research to be effective when implemented correctly with students with ASD. The NPDC is currently developing online modules, called AFIRM, for each of the 27 identified practices.

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports
The TA Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports has been established by the Office of Special Education Programs, US Department of Education to give schools capacity-building information and technical assistance for identifying, adapting, and sustaining effective school-wide disciplinary practices.

RTI, National Center on Response to Intervention
The National Center on Response to Intervention is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs.  The Center supports the implementation of RTI on a national level by 1) identifying, adapting, evaluating and scaling up RTI frameworks, 2) providing ongoing support and technical assistance to states to support implementation of comprehensive RTI programs in districts, schools, and classrooms nationally; and disseminating information about proven and promising practices within RTI frameworks to our target audience, including parents, service providers, program administrators, policymakers, and other interested stakeholders across the country.

Reading Rockets
Reading Rockets offers a wealth of reading strategies, lessons, and activities designed to help young children learn how to read and read better. Reading resources are available to assist parents, teachers, and other educators in helping struggling readers build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

Think College
Think College is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disabilities.  In addition to other resources, users can find and compare information about college programs for students with intellectual disabilities on this website.

What Works Clearinghouse
An initiative of the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, the WWC: Produces user-friendly practice guides for educators that address instructional challenges with research-based recommendations for schools and classrooms; assesses the rigor of research evidence on the effectiveness of interventions (programs, products, practices, and policies), giving educators the tools to make informed decisions; develops and implements standards for reviewing and synthesizing education research; and provides a public and easily accessible registry of education evaluation researchers to assist schools, school districts, and program developers with designing and carrying out rigorous evaluations.  Topic areas include:  adolescent literacy, beginning reading, character education, dropout prevention, early childhood education, early childhood education for children with disabilities, elementary school math, English language learners, middle school math and students with learning disabilities.

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