Virginia State-Wide 3 Year Goals
The VCU Autism Center for Excellence (VCU-ACE) has developed statewide goals based upon our work with 12 school divisions across the Commonwealth. These goals can guide school divisions as they work to improve service delivery for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). They may also serve as a focus for problem solving and resource sharing within the regional Communities of Learning in Autism Spectrum Disorders (CoLAs).
School divisions throughout the state are encouraged to use these goals as a model to increase the skills and knowledge of educational service providers and improve the public school services available to students with ASD.
VCU Autism Center for Excellence 2011-2014 State-wide Goals
VCU-ACE will develop a guidance document, including a comprehensive autism observation checklist for administrators (i.e. special education directors, principals, vice principals, specialists, instructional coordinators) to evaluate educational programs and the implementation of evidence-based practices and meaningful instruction. VCU-ACE will release this tool to the Commonwealth for school divisions to use.
VCU-ACE will develop guidelines and resources to assist IEP teams in improving the communication capabilities of all students with ASD so each student is able to effectively communicate across environments and for a variety of purposes. These guidelines will be designed to enhance the understanding of what communication is, why it is important, and advance expectations of team members. The guidelines will outline strategies to ensure continued growth in communication by addressing the following areas:
- Identification of communication goals;
- Implementation of communication learning opportunities;
- Implementation of strategies and supports;
- Development and application of a systematic plan for enhancing communication capabilities; and
- Commitment to developing an individualized long-term mode of communication.
VCU-ACE will develop a comprehensive transition (planning) map to assist IEP teams in ensuring that the student's academic placement, assessments, and goals are in line with post-secondary aspirations. This map will be constructed prior to the student's 3rd grade year and reevaluated annually to determine its appropriateness and alignment with diploma status and IEP goals. The transition map will be used by educators to provide critical information for transitions between grade levels, educational environment, and teaching staff.
VCU-ACE will provide training opportunities to address the fundamental evidence-based practices needed to effectively serve students with ASD. The National Professional Development Center (NPDC) on Autism Spectrum Disorders has identified 24 evidence-based practices. From these, VCU-ACE has identified five core practices that create the foundation for the effective education of students with ASD. They are:
- Antecedent- Based Instruction (ABI)
- Differential Reinforcement
- Systematic Instruction (behavior approach to teaching shaping, chaining, prompting, task analysis)
- Visual Supports
- Communication Instruction (Functional Communication Training [FCT], Picture Exchange Communication System [PECS], speech generating devices)
These practices, when implemented with fidelity, lay the framework for the implementation of additional evidence-based practices as listed by the NPDC on ASD.
VCU-ACE will develop performance standards and evaluation criteria for teachers who support students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in alignment with the Virginia Department of Education's Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers, Administrators, and Superintendents. VCU-ACE will also develop a guidance document, resources, and autism observation checklists for administrators to evaluate educational programs and the implementation of evidence-based practices and meaningful instruction. VCU-ACE will release these tools to the Commonwealth for school divisions to use.