Objectives: The goal was to determine the efficacy of the model as it has evolved over three years of implementation.
Methods: Participants were assessed for their gain in knowledge and use of evidence-based methodologies. Year 1. Participants completed ratings each day of the training. Year 2. Participants completed ratings immediately before and after training. Year 3. Participants completed ratings immediately before and after training and again 4 months later. Following each training year, methodologies and procedures for collecting data were assessed and revised.
Results: Year 1 (n=10). There was significant improvement from the pre-test (M=34.6%) to the post-test (M=45.4%) for the overall training (p<.001). Year 2 (n=27). Participants were significantly improved at the post-test (M=90.0%) compared to the pre-test (M=74.5%, p<.05). Year 3 (n=39). Participants were significantly improved at the post-test (M=83%) and at the 4-month follow-up (M=82%) compared to the pre-test (M=73%; p <.001). Across all three years (N=76), there was an average 12% increase in participants’ knowledge gained through the model.
Conclusions: Across all three years, the HANDS in Autism model, emphasizing hands-on learning through practice, coaching, and feedback, demonstrated improvements in knowledge and use of methodologies for working with children with autism.