Autism & Developmental Disabilities

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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 FPG News Story

FPG Review of 30 Years of Autism Research Points to New Best Practices and Trends | FPG investigators, who lead the National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence and Practice, have completed an updated systematic review of literature related to interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder, uncovering new information on what practices produce positive outcomes for children and youth through age 22.

Read the full story.

Featured Resource

All children and young adults require support from caregivers during times of stress and uncertainty, such as those we are facing now because of COVID-19. Coping with the unknown and navigating school closures, abrupt changes in routines, loss of connections with teachers and friends, and fear around contracting the virus are burdens for all, and caregivers play an important role in helping children and young adults understand the changes and process their related feelings. Individuals with autism may need additional support to process the news and adapt to the many changes.

Learn more.

Featured Publication

Self‐determination is critical during adolescence and has been linked to positive educational outcomes in individuals with disabilities. Few studies have characterized the measurement of self‐determination in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder.

Learn more about "Student, Educator, and Parent Perspectives of Self-Determination in High School Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder."

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 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).
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.