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350,000 (and counting) rely on AFIRM modules

A mother and daughter working on laptop; woman with long dark hair sits beside pre-teen daughter leaning against couch with laptop in their laps | Credit: JuYochi

350,000 (and counting) rely on AFIRM modules

April 28, 2024

The Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Modules (AFIRM) project at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has reached an incredible milestone―350,000 (and counting!) users now rely on AFIRM for evidence-based practices that can help learners with autism.

AFIRM, which was originally funded by the Office of Special Education Programs and extensions supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, provides free, user-friendly online learning modules that are used all over the world by teachers, paraeducators, families, and really anyone who works with learners with autism. This kind of expert guidance lifts burdens from those who are trying to find effective and high-quality ways to support their learners.

“Since their launch in 2015, AFIRM modules have become a go-to resource for teachers, paraeducators, early interventionists, and therapists,” says Ann Sam, PhD, who led the development of AFIRM and is an advanced research scientist at FPG. “Providing information about evidence-based practices is critical in bridging the research-to-practice gap. Our goal is to provide easy-to-use and practical information on evidence-based practices that educators can immediately use with children and youth.”

Timely toolkits, implementation checklists, user guides, lesson plans, data collection forms, and family support packages are just some of the free resources AFIRM offers. While these resources are designed to help learners with autism from birth to 22 years of age, there was room for growth in resources focused on very young children (birth to three years of age). Several colleagues within FPG, including AFIRM project researchers and technical assistance specialists from the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center, worked together to address this by designing a new series of resources. The AFIRM for Toddlers Modules are a set of six modules designed specifically for early interventionists working with toddlers, families, and early care providers.

“The AFIRM Team was excited to partner with ECTA to create these resources,” says Sam. “The AFIRM for Toddler modules meet a critical need, providing information and resources for early interventionists and technical assistance providers to use when providing services and supports for families and young children in the home or childcare environment.”

These modules supply information on naturalistic intervention, parent-implemented intervention, prompting, reinforcement, visual supports, and behavior supports. And, similar to other AFIRM modules, they include a number of supplemental resources such as step-by-step guides, implementation checklists, data collection forms, and generalization plans.

To learn more about the modules and access them, please visit the AFIRM modules web page.