START Connecting Articles
|Regional Collaborative Networks: Creating Stronger Communities to Support Students
When the START Project launched in 2001, we wondered how a small team of START staff could address the needs of students with autism in a large, diverse state. As we connected with ISDs and districts across the state, we immediately knew that our best hope of supporting students with autism...
|Resource Feature: Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT)
This is the 25th anniversary of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT), an organization and website dedicated to helping individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) access effective and ethical interventions that are supported by scientific evidence.
|iQuest: Begin your Independence Quest
START is happy to introduce the iQuest, or independence Quest! The iQuest is an electronic and updated version of the Passport. The Passport was designed as a physical booklet, where teams and families identified relevant independence and self-advocacy goals by grade level and tracked them.
|LRE and Belonging Practices Across the Lifespan
To create inclusive environments that foster belonging, we can no longer consider it standard practice for students, from early childhood to adulthood, to be removed from their natural settings because of a label, test scores, behavior, or ways of communicating (Taub, 2021).
|What's happening in '23-24!
With so many schools starting at different times, we know some of you have been in school for nearly a month while others are just getting started. Wherever you are in the schedule - welcome back!
|Peer to Peer 2.0: Level Up!
In March 2023, we held our first Peer to Peer 2.0: Level Up training. Peer to Peer 2.0 emerged from a desire to communicate updated resources and content to established teams, dive deeper into advanced Peer to Peer content, and offer the opportunity for teams across the state to network and share ideas. We want to share exciting information about the next level of Peer to Peer...
|Promoting Inclusion and Belonging Everyday
Inclusion is a word that can evoke various images and meanings to each one of us. Meaningful inclusion is demonstrated when people with disabilities are involved in natural, everyday activities and given opportunities to be involved in ways similar to their peers who do not have a disability...
|A Joint Statement on the Use of Prompting
Prompting is a tool for teaching that may be used to assist anyone learning a skill. It is especially important for learners who may need additional cues to accelerate learning and reduce errors and frustration...
|Transition: Empowering Students through Self-Determination
Student empowerment is important for all students, with and without disabilities, for achieving greater independence. It involves helping students make choices and decisions that prepare them for the transition out of high school and to adulthood. I’m Determined is a comprehensive resource with tools and supports to promote self-determination with students from early childhood through young adulthood.
|Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in Schools: Supporting Students with Autism within a Tiered Approach
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a science of behavior change supported by decades of research. Numerous evidenced-based interventions have been derived from the principles of ABA and used to support learners both with and without IEPs, across the school day. In this article, we will highlight ways that ABA practices may support behavior change through: 1) Tier I (universal) support for all learners in a school, and 2) Tier II (targeted) and Tier III (intensive) behavior change strategies for specific learner needs.
|Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in Schools: Understanding the Fundamentals to Effectively Use ABA
If you work in schools, you have likely used practices from Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), even if you did not know it. This includes a wide range of practices such as: using high frequency opportunities to respond when teaching a lesson, providing practice with specific feedback, conducting progress monitoring in a reading intervention to guide next steps, using a prompt hierarchy, and teaching communication using the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Fundamentally, evidence-based instruction and behavior support have a basis in ABA.
|Together We Thrive: All Students Benefit as Peer Supports
Who are the LINK students in your Peer to Peer programs? You might be inclined to invite high-performing students to participate as peer supports. After all, these are the students who are engaged in classes and can serve as “ideal” role models. However, the data from the START Project peer outcomes study...
|Preschool Life Skills (PLS): Teaching Foundational Behaviors for School Success
Do your preschoolers share with other children? Do they consistently look when a teacher calls their name? What about asking for help or following directions? Many children need explicit instruction and multiple practice opportunities to learn these skills, especially as they prepare for kindergarten...
|Peer to Peer and Unified Champion Schools Collaboration
How do you create a culture in your school that promotes friendships and inclusiveness for all students 365 days a year? A collaboration between START’s Peer to Peer and Special Olympics’ Unified Champion Schools (UCS) is a powerful resource that accomplishes all of those goals...
|Transition Planning for Autistic Adolescents and Young Adults
Intentional planning and preparation for the future can result in more positive outcomes for autistic youth transitioning to adulthood (Test et al., 2020). This is a multi-faceted process that takes place over time versus discrete events and involves the student...
|Inclusion and Advocacy Resources for April and Beyond
April is Autism month when we focus on Acceptance, Advocacy, and Action. In anticipation of April and the various activities acknowledging autism, we asked colleagues, friends, and community partners...
|Behavioral Expectations for Early Childhood Classrooms
What if we told you there is a universal strategy that is beneficial for all children in an early childhood setting that is relatively simple to implement and we have a set of materials available to get started? This approach has plenty of research to support its effectiveness...
|Behavioral Skills Training (BST): A Strategy for Training and Coaching
Behavioral Skills Training (BST) is an evidence-based package to systematically train and coach a wide range of skills. The literature on this evidence-based strategy is quite broad and demonstrates effectiveness for children and adults across many skills...
|Peer to Peer Support is a Participation Model
Whether you’ve supported a Peer to Peer program for one semester, or for multiple years, you have undoubtedly seen the powerful impact on relationships, school culture, and lived experiences...
|Girls with Autism: We have so much to learn
Girls with autism are amazing and unique in their own ways, just like boys with autism. They have strengths and challenges, just like boys. However, their autism manifests in ways that can be quite different from boys...
|Introducing Holly Miller: Autistic Self-Advocate
Hello, my name is Holly Miller. I am an autistic self-advocate from Grand Rapids and consultant for the START ASD 365 campaign. Here is my story.
|ASD 365: Inclusion & Equity Every Day
The START ASD 365: Inclusion and Equity Every Day campaign was formed in the spring of 2021 in response to the need for greater intention regarding neurodiversity, inclusivity, equality, and acceptance...
We hope your return to school has been smooth and filled with many positive moments, even amidst this complex transition for school staff, students, and families. We know some of you spent last year...
|START-isms: Values to Guide our Work
As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, we are debuting our updated START-isms. What are “-isms”? They are “concise and forcefully expressive phrases” (Oxford Languages online dictionary)...
|When Words Matter
Beginning in the 1970s, Autism Awareness week was a way to raise awareness about autism at a time when the known prevalence of autism was 1 in 2,500 and it was considered an uncommon childhood disorder...