ASD Toddler Initiative: Promoting the Use of Evidence-Based Practices for Toddlers With Autism Spectrum Disorders

This project will expand on the work conducted by the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder for preschool through high school-aged students with ASD, funded by the Office of Special Education Programs. The Toddler Initiative will develop new materials and modify existing materials/processes to support the use of evidence-based practices for young children (birth-3) and for their families, and consistent with the philosophy of family-centered Part C services/supports. There are two components to this initiative: (1) development of early intervention materials and processes (Year 1) and (2) field testing the toddler model in a small number of early intervention programs (Year 2). 

During the development phase (Year 1), staff will: (a) update an instructional module on early identification of ASD; (b) expand content, video examples, and resources on 10 evidence-based practice modules, previously developed for use with preschool through high school-aged students with ASD, but shown to be efficacious for infants and toddlers and their families; (c) develop new family-friendly learning materials to support the use of these practices by family members; (d) finalize the development of the Autism Program Environment Rating Scale – Infant/Toddler, a home-based program quality measure of early intervention services, and adapt for use by other early intervention program models; and (e) develop procedures for selecting state implementation sites for field testing the model.

Staff will engage in the following Year 2 activities during the field testing component: (a) convene an interagency planning group to provide leadership for addressing needs of toddlers and their families in the state; (b) select three early intervention sites to field-test use of the materials and procedures and  provide data for evaluation of the model; (c) provide professional development for technical assistance providers and site teams to enhance the quality of programs, use of evidence-based practices, and implementation of a coaching process; (d) provide ongoing technical assistance to the site teams; and (e) report toddler, family, provider, and program outcomes associated with implementation of The Toddler Initiative.

For more information about the project, see An Evidence-Based Individualized Program for Toddlers with ASD.

Project Website: ASD Toddler Initiative
FPG Project Staff:
Samuel L. Odom, Principal Investigator
Ann W. Cox, Co-Principal Investigator
Evelyn F. Shaw, Educational Consultant
Gwen G. Van Ark, Human Resources Associate
Funding Agency: Autism Speaks
Funding Period: 02/01/2012 - 07/31/2014
Award Amount: $400,000
For more information, please contact: slodom@unc.edu