Monday, May 21, 2012

May 2012 Newsletter

This month we focused on Evidence-Based Practices for students with autism, but I also posted a bunch of new free downloads.

Intro to Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) -

What is EBP? -

EBP and Autism -

New Free Download: Travis the Train Learns Colors -

New Free Downloads: Train Phonics Activities -

New Free Downloads: Train Theme Skip Count Worksheets -

May 2012 Positive Autism News -

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

EBP and Autism

In terms of evidence-based practice for students with autism, there are a variety of definitions as well. According to a guide published by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, a method that is based on scientifically-based research means that there exists some reliable evidence that the method is effective for some students with autism (KATC, 2008, as cited in North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2011).

The guide goes on to say that, in order for a method to be considered an evidence-based practice for students with autism, it must have certain amounts of published research (in scientific journals) that are either randomized or quasi-experimental research designs or single-subject research designs.

So, according to this particular guide, to be considered an evidence-based practice (EBP), a method must have one of the following amounts of research:

Type of Research

Number of Studies Needed

Randomized or quasi-experimental



5 (by at least 3 different researchers)


At least 1 randomized or quasi-experimental study and at least 3 single-subject studies (by at least 3 different researchers)

Reichow and colleagues also propose some different, specific criteria for determining whether a method meets EBP standards in their book:


Randomized or quasi-experimental studies can be thought of as a traditional group study, where one group receives a treatment and another does not. The two groups are then compared. One example: two groups of students with autism participate in a study. One group receives a social skills training class, and the other does not. The levels of social skills for the groups are then compared.

A single-subject study involves one or a small number of participants, in which each person’s skill levels or performance are compared before and after the intervention takes place. So, each person’s scores during the intervention are compared to his or her scores before the intervention. One example: Jake, a 6-year-old student with autism has difficulty during some work tasks in school. He sometimes throws his pencil and workbook on the floor. Jake’s teacher takes some data on how often this happens before she makes any changes (this is called the baseline phase). Then, she starts giving Jake a small reward for each workbook page completed. She takes data during this time (the intervention phase) to see if the behavior of throwing objects on the floor decreases. The amounts of “object throwing” behavior are compared before and during/after the intervention.

Please note that in actual single-subject research, there are generally more research phases included in order to demonstrate experimental control, but the above example gives a basic overview of the process.


Evidence-Based Practices in Educating Children with Autism

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What is EBP?

To put it simply, “Evidence-based practice means that clinicians are using procedures that have been studied carefully and those results have been reviewed and published.” - Jeri A. Logemann

Making decisions about evidence-based practice for teaching and helping students with ASD is difficult. The resources and information provided in this month's blog posts aim to make this process easier for both families and educators.

In this blog post series, you'll see the term "evidence-based practice" (EBP). In this case, a "practice" basically means some educational method that is used for students with autism.

More specifically, some people define EBP as consisting of 3 or 4 of these components:

Best available evidence (research findings).
Professional judgment/data-based clinical decision making.
Values and preferences of families (and the students with ASD themselves).
Capacity to accurately implement autism interventions.


National Autism Center's National Standards Project Video

Sackett et al (2000), as cited in a presentation by Dr. Ronnie Detrich at the 2012 conference of the Association for Positive Behavior Supports.

"What is Evidence-Based Practice and Why Should We Care?" by Jeri A. Logemann

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Intro to Evidence-Based Practice (EBP)

Families, schools, and service providers are seeing increasing numbers of children with autism. New statistics from the U.S. CDC put the estimate at 1 in 88 children. With the large number of children being diagnosed, there is a need for educational interventions that are effective and meaningful. With the wide variety of treatments, programs, and interventions available, examining the research evidence surrounding these treatments is critical.

So, what does current evidence show about different treatments for autism?

How do we define an “evidence-based practice?”

How can I interpret research findings and apply them to my children or students?

In our upcoming blog posts for May and June, we’ll explore these and other issues to help you make decisions about which treatments or programs may be most effective for your children or students.