This Letter to the Editor was originally published in the October 26, 2011 issue of Education Week.
On behalf of the National Autism Center (NAC), I want to thank you for recently featuring the commentary, “Where Are the Autism Teaching Competencies?” (September 20, 2011).
Given the challenges of providing appropriate services to a diverse and increasingly numerous student population in this country with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the need for evidence-based practice in our schools has never been so urgent. We must provide our educators with the tools and resources they need to give children the greatest chance for success.
To assist educators who work hard to provide appropriate services, NAC published a comprehensive manual in 2010 entitled, “Evidence-based Practice and Autism in the Schools.” It is designed to assist front-line interventionists in selecting and implementing the most effective research-supported treatments for ASD.
As we did with the results of the National Standards Project (that identified which ASD treatments have been shown to be effective), we are making this manual available online for free. Educators from every state and dozens of countries have downloaded it. In a national survey conducted last year, responses demonstrated that the manual is making a significant impact on improving educators’ knowledge about ASD and providing effective interventions for students on the spectrum.
Part of our core mission is to disseminate these kinds of resources, along with the results of the National Standards Project, to communities across the country and throughout the world. Lasting change in the education of students with ASD requires evidence-based practice as its foundation.
Hanna Rue, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Director of Evidence-based Practice
National Autism Center