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.