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Archived News: What's New
June 2011

Online Seminars Now Available!

VCU-ACE is launching a series of Online Seminars! Using your computer, you can participate in a 30-60 minute video presentation on a variety of topics related to ASD including evidence based strategies and supports. Online seminars are appropriate for anyone who wants to learn more about ASD and how to provide appropriate supports and can be viewed at a time that is convenient for you. Online seminars are free to Virginia residents.

More information:

Seminars Webpage


Don’t Forget to Check our Resources Page!

On our Resources Page, you will find links to many additional resources, journal articles, and factsheets. These are continually updated, so check back often! Links to additional resources and a new Factsheet on Applied Behavior Analysis was recently added, so take a look!


Diagnostic and Evaluation Taskforce Meets to Develop Strategic Plans

On Wednesday, June 1, the Diagnostic and Evaluation Taskforce met to develop strategic plans to further explore and improve the screening and diagnostic process for individuals with ASD in Virginia. The Taskforce is comprised of pediatricians, educators, parents, and other professionals from a variety of disciplines and is committed to lowering the age of diagnosis of ASD in Virginia and bridging the gap between the educational and medical professions. Three subcommittees were established and worked to develop individual plans to research and explore the current practices in Virginia to make recommendations for future practice in screening, diagnosis and systems change. The subcommittee for Screening is led by Dr. Maria Urbano and co- led by Staci Carr from VCU-ACE. The Diagnostic subcommittee is led by Dr. Donald Oswald and co-led by Dr. Dawn Hendricks of VCU-ACE. Finally, the Systems Change subcommittee is led by Dr. Heather Applegate and co-led by Joy Engstrom of VCU-ACE.

The subcommittees developed work plans that will be carried out over the summer months to answer questions in each area of concern. Following the collection of data, each subcommittee will produce a written summary that will be included in a white paper to be presented to the Virginia Department of Education and Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS). The paper will include concrete recommendations to lower the age of diagnosis, improve screening practices among medical professionals, increase awareness of ASD, and to bridge the gap between educational and medical professions.


An Update from the Division-wide Technical Assistance Teams

The Technical Assistance arm of ACE certainly did not rest this summer! There was lots to do in regards to helping Autism Services Improvement Teams finish their Service Improvement Plans and finalize division wide goals. Many of the Technical Assistance Associates collaborated with their division leaders and conducted 2 day customized workshops. The topics included: evidence based practices, goal attainment scaling, the coaching model, fidelity assessments, etc. Division staff were able to choose their target audience plus design the content around the participants needs.

In addition, the division wide teams are hosting various forms of subcommittees or focus groups in efforts to accomplish their divisions' goals. The participating teams are working on: training on evidence based practice for all levels of staff, developing ways to reach out to parents and families of students with autism via internet and support groups, identifying staff who are "autism experts" to utilize as coaches, building capacity to identify students earlier, and brainstorming ways to create communication methods amongst the staff who work with students on the spectrum.

The start of the 2011-2012 school year is upon us and the ACE Technical Assistance Staff are looking forward to guiding these tireless teams as they strive for excellence for their students with Autism and other disabilities.

More information:

School Division-Wide Intervention Webpage


Sign up for our June 14 Webcast on Research Based Intervention with Sam Odom!

Sam Odom will present a webcast on June 14 at 3:30pm “Research Based Intervention: Ensuring Program Quality for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder." It is critical for parents and professionals serving someone with ASD to utilize practices determined to be effective through research. This webcast will provide a comprehensive description of evidence-based practices for individuals with ASD. Dr. Odom will provide a definition and describe how a practice is determined to be evidence-based. A review of the current literature in ASD will be provided and those strategies currently identified as evidence-based will be discussed. Further, Dr. Odom will talk about components of a quality program for students with ASD and outline contextual features that represent best practice. A focus will be placed on the findings of the National Autism Professional Development Center in ASD and the National Standards Project. A variety of resources on evidence-based practices will be shared.

More information:

Webcast Information


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