The Virginia Autism Council was established in 2004 as a working group to gain consensus across state and national autism experts on the "Skill Competencies". The skill competencies are needed to guide personnel development of professionals and paraprofessionals supporting individuals with autism from early intervention through adult services in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Rather than focusing on diagnosis the competencies focus on assessment of individual needs and program planning. The skill competencies were developed to provide a comprehensive list of skills and knowledge needed to effectively serve this population.
The Virginia Autism Council highlights the intended uses of the competencies. Specifically, they are intended to:
(a) Assist service providers in identifying areas of need for professional development;
(b) Influence the development of coursework and certificate programs in institutes of higher education;
(c) Provide information to incorporate into existing courses and programs in institutes of higher education; and
(d) Guide the organization of staff development initiatives and selection of training topics.