Objectives: (a) To illustrate the real-life experiences of educational practitioners’ in shaping, learning, and adopting a novel intervention program targeting pivotal skills of young students with autism (b) To describe the feedback provided in order to develop an intervention program suitable for public preschool classrooms serving students with autism.
Methods: Using a four-phase iterative process, the ASAP intervention was developed and refined through stages of increasingly complex implementation, with Phase 1 involving implementation of only one ASAP component (i.e., one-to-one intervention) and Phase 4 constituting full implementation of the refined ASAP intervention. Feedback from participating practitioners and students was collected following each phase through focus groups and semi-structured interviews. Feedback was categorized by question/probe (e.g., training, coaching, implementation, teams and administration) and themes were derived from each phase’s feedback through qualitative review of data and a grounded theory-based analytic approach.
Results: Themes that emerged from practitioner feedback across phases included the following: Desire for straightforward written information with high levels of organization; need for clear delineation of roles and expectations; positive impact of coaching relationship; time and staff constraints; lack of administrative support; positive impact on all students; difficulty of data collection; and interest in collaboration across schools. This presentation will make clear the myriad ways in which this feedback influenced and shaped the resulting ASAP intervention and its supporting materials, including substantial changes made to the manual, the training, and the coaching model.
Conclusions: The promise of ASAP as a public school-based intervention for preschoolers with autism is intrinsically linked to the feedback our research team received from community practitioners in the development process. In addition, the feedback provided to the ASAP research team has implications for other autism intervention efforts in public school settings.
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