Evaluation of a 3 Day Autism Training Model in Nigeria

Friday, May 16, 2014
Atrium Ballroom (Marriott Marquis Atlanta)
C. Flint1, K. Hench2 and J. Salt1, (1)HAVE Dreams, Park Ridge, IL, (2)AACTION Autism, Park Ridge, IL

Throughout Nigeria, there is little Autism awareness and intervention.  Individuals with autism are largely undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. This leads to difficulties integrating into communities, receiving appropriate services, and a vulnerability to mistreatment.  However, more parents and professionals are becoming familiar with the unique characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders. 

 AACTION Autism, a U.S. based non-profit organization dedicated to worldwide awareness through training, partnered with The Learning Place Centre in Lagos, to provide a 3 day intensive training based on structured teaching principles.

 Structured teaching is a specific instructional strategy designed to accommodate the characteristic strengths and neuropsychological differences of those with autism. 

During our training, participants learned how to apply interventions across a range of skill sets.  The participants observed the trainers work with one child each day (concrete learners, intermediate learners and high functioning learners).  The training is multi-modal in that it includes lectures, video demonstration, and opportunities to create structured activities that were then implemented with students for observation by participants.

 The U.S. model for the training program has been evaluated and proven to be successful (IMFAR, 2012; BPS 2010).  However, the implementation of the training model in Nigeria is unknown, due to more limited resources, potential cultural barriers and different expectations by parents and professionals of individuals with autism. 


This study investigated the preliminary effectiveness of the training model to increase parent and professional competence to set up structured teaching programs in Nigeria.  The study addressed (i) competence of autism programming gained across each day of the 3 day training and (ii) the satisfaction with the training model.


Participating professionals and parents (n= 37) who attended the training completed a structured questionnaire pre and post training on each day.

 The questionnaire was developed and piloted by the lead trainers to assess key aspects of structured teaching interventions.  The final questionnaires were piloted on several Nigerian residents for ease of readability and cultural sensitivity.

Each questionnaire described a student with skills sets at either the concrete level (early learner); intermediate level; or abstract level (advanced learner).  Participants answered questions on each day regarding that child.  Each questionnaire had 4 questions, with a maximum total score of 16.


i) T-test revealed that there was a significant ( p<.001) increase in competence scores pre and post training at each level of development (concrete, intermediate, abstract). 

ii) Satisfaction with the training model was very high.  100% (n=37) of responders felt more prepared to address the needs of individuals with ASD having attended the training.


The 3 day autism training program was successfully implemented in the Nigerian capital.  By attending the training, participants increased their confidence in their ability to teach the autism curriculum, at any level of ability, to individuals with ASD.  Both parents and professionals satisfaction with the training was very high.  These results indicate the preliminary effectiveness of our training program.  A more rigorous methodology is needed to extend confidence in these evaluation results.

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