START Connecting Articles


START Connecting Articles

Date Article Title Introduction
9/20/2021 Welcome Back!

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...

5/24/2021 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)...

4/21/2021 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...

3/15/2021 Empower One, Empower ALL: Creating a Peer to Peer Culture One Classroom at a Time

For the past twenty years, START has supported the development of Peer to Peer programs around the state. We have observed the magic that results when peers are together building authentic friendships...

2/15/2021 We can't say it enough - Use evidence-based practices!

For students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the research literature is clear about the importance of using evidence-based practices and professional judgement to systematically...

1/11/2021 Supporting Families at Home with PBIS

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many public schools across Michigan were not able to offer a full-time return to face-to-face learning in the fall. Depending on each district’s circumstances various...

11/19/2020 Get Moving: Exercise is an Evidence-Based Practice

Although it feels like we just started the new school year, winter is coming soon. For many, the chilly temperatures will cause us to hunker down. Playing outside, taking a bike ride...

10/12/2020 Task Analysis

As teachers and school professionals, one of our primary goals is to teach students new skills. No matter the age of the student, the academic, social and independence skills...

9/21/2020 Back to School Fall 2020: Persisting in a Pandemic

This week is the official start of fall. It is usually the time when kids are settling into school, the leaves turn colors, football is in full swing, and the hunt for pumpkins begins...

5/26/2020 Staying Connected and Engaged During Times of Distance

One of the most difficult aspects of social distancing is being socially distant. During the school year, we work hard to help students be connected with each other and engaged in their school community...

4/20/2020 ASD and Siblings

Each child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is unique in personality, abilities, and challenges. ASD presents in a wide variety of ways with varying levels of impact on communication...

3/24/2020 A Reflection & Response to COVID-19

I am starting this article with a phrase we have heard repeatedly over the past two weeks - we are living in unprecedented times. Although this is true, it is a statement that hardly conveys...

2/17/2020 Self-Advocacy

Remember self-advocacy! This topic was presented at the Fall RCN Leadership Day and we want to recap how important it is to be mindful of self-advocacy across all ages and environments...

1/15/2020 Promoting Engagement in Preschool Classrooms

Engagement is critical for all students, whether they have disabilities or not, but it can be especially important for young students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) since these children...

12/16/2019 State Funded Initiative: Michigan Alliance for Families (MAF)

The Michigan Alliance for Families (MAF) is a statewide parent resource agency supporting families of children with disabilities and their involvement in their child’s education. MAF maintains...

11/14/2019 Practical Functional Assessment and Skill-Based Treatment of Problem Behavior

The work of Gregory Hanley, Ph.D., BCBA-D and his colleagues at FTF Behavior Consulting is dedicated to disseminating safe and efficient functional assessment procedures that...

10/25/2019 Assessing Effective Classroom Supports for Students with Higher Support Needs

A classroom is like a student’s home at school. It is the place where they not only receive their core academic instruction but it also provides predictable structure to the day...

9/16/2019 Fape in the LRE: The New Bloodborne Pathogens

Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is a foundation of special education. It is important that all school professionals and family members...

4/8/2019 Social Thinking

What does it mean to teach “social skills”? Ask 10 people and you’ll probably get 10 different answers. There appears to be no collective agreement as to how to define it. You might...

2/28/2019 Michigan ASD State Plan 2018 Progress Review and Recommendations: A Call to Action

The Michigan ASD State Plan 2018 Progress Review and Recommendations is available. You could easily decide that this is a state level document with a lot of information that is not...

1/30/2019 Paraprofessionals as Independence Facilitators: Modeling for 5:1

When determining the need for paraprofessional support, it is critical to design a plan that focuses on independence since this is a primary goal for all students. A good place to start involves giving...

12/20/2018 Peer LINKS, Elective Credit, and Pupil Accounting

A Peer to Peer program is a strategy for providing ongoing support and modeling by a peer to peer support student (called a LINK for the purposes of this document) to a student with an...

11/12/2018 Effective Teaming and Meeting Mechanics Resource Manual: Tools to Improve Meeting Processes

Meetings are an important part of sharing information and making decisions that help us capitalize on the strengths and experiences of a group of people with common goals. The most efficient...

10/15/2018 The PEERS® Approach to Social Skills Training

We all need social skills to get along with others, negotiate the school years, make friends, and relate to others at our job. For individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), understanding social behavior...

3/13/2018 We Need to Talk about It: Sexual Health and Students with ASD

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is fundamentally characterized by difficulty with social interaction including challenges with understanding the most basic social behaviors...