Regional Collaborative Networks (RCN) are groups of school professionals, parent representatives, and relevant community partners serving students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in a particular region in Michigan.
The RCN are supported through START (Statewide Autism Resources and Training), a Michigan State Department of Education professional development grant project. One principle of the START model is that information, training, and support need to be locally available (accessibility) and must be embedded in the system in order to continue beyond grant funding (sustainability). By collaborating with stakeholders in their area and linking with the START project, RCN are able to identify and expand effective practices for students with ASD, create local training and coaching opportunities to assure implementation of supports with fidelity, and establish local resource accessibility. Although all RCN share key components, they are individualized to the needs and characteristics of their region and stakeholders.