Autism & Developmental Disabilities

Home » Areas of Work » Autism & Developmental Disabilities
teacher showing happy and sad faces to student with autism

Supporting individuals with developmental disabilities such as autism, as well as their caregivers and service providers, is central to the work of FPG. Understanding developmental trajectories and the impact of a developmental disability on the individual, family, and broader community informs both theory and practice. High-quality intervention across the age range can ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families fully participate in their community in ways that are meaningful to them. FPG investigators have identified central features of high-quality intervention, such as family-focused programming, early childhood inclusion, and the use of identified evidence-based practices. They lead the field in translating scientific knowledge into practical information for teachers and service providers, and actively join their colleagues from implementation science in promoting adoption and use of effective intervention practices in schools, homes, and community settings.

Featured Publication

Screening tools for autism spectrum disorder serve a vital role in early identification of all children who may need evaluation and support. Recent studies suggest that traditional methods used in this field to translate such tools may be insufficient for maintaining linguistic, construct, or technical equivalence, resulting in screening tools that do not meet high psychometric standards in the new population. This study implemented a rigorous translation and cultural adaptation process by translating the First Years Inventory v3.1.

Featured Resource

The move to partial or full-time online instruction due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) has created uncertainty and stress for many families and students with autism. "Supporting Online Learning for Students with Autism" provides strategies and resources that may support students with autism and their families as they adjust to remote learning and navigate new learning platforms. Five key areas are addressed and include tips as well as ready-to-use tools.

Featured FPG News Story

Autism researchers from FPG have published their latest review of literature related to interventions for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), identifying five new evidence-based practices and reclassifying interventions to better support those who serve children and youth with ASD. "Our publication filters the amount of literature that practitioners, families, and researchers have to sort through to help make decisions about what evidence-based practices they might use or study," says Kara Hume. Learn more.

Current Projects

This project aims to identify specific linguistic markers of genetic liability to autism which may be used to illuminate the pathogenesis of autism and its component features.
The FPG Autism Team will provide professional development training on the Autism Program Environment Rating Scale (APERS). The training will be for nine participants who are team members or affiliates of the Autism Professional Learning & Universal Supports Project at Illinois State University.
The aims of this development and innovation project are to develop an interactive decision tree to inform adaptation of Classroom Pivotal Response Teaching (CPRT) for individual students, goals, and activities, and to develop an interactive on-line training and distance coaching model for teachers and paraprofessionals.
The purpose of this project is to determine in-school and out-of-school outcomes for high school students who participated in a cluster (CRCT) of the efficacy of a comprehensive treatment program developed by the Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (CSESA).
The FPG Autism Team will develop five AFIRM modules based on new evidence-based practices identified by the National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence & Practice review of the literature.
This study will iteratively develop and test an adapted professional development model to be used with the Advancing Social-communication And Play intervention.
The National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence and Practice (NCAEP) is conducting a systematic review of the current intervention literature targeting individuals on the autism spectrum. NCAEP is a continuation of the evidence review that was completed by the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder.
This postdoctoral research program will provide postdoctoral fellows with extensive research training in special education with a focus on the knowledge and skills needed to evaluate the efficacy of interventions and instructional practices for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The overarching goal of this program is to prepare four fellows (with 2 years of training each) to conduct high-quality special education research related to children and youth with ASD.
The purpose of this project is to develop the Supporting paraprofessionals-Teachers use of Evidence-based practices with Learners having Autism (STELA) program, a professional development intervention targeting the knowledge and skills that paraprofessionals need to implement evidence-based practices for students with autism spectrum disorder.
The goal of this project is to validate the Early Communication Indicator for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ECI-ASD) using a robust and representative multi-site sample of well-characterized children with autism spectrum disorder to determine the psychometric features of this instrument and its ability to detect change over time.

Publications and Other Resources