START Connecting Articles
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 may not readily learn from observing others, and often have challenges related to motivation, attention, and understanding expectations...
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 regional parent mentors across Michigan who themselves have a family member with a disability. Every staff member...
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 inform highly effective and humane treatments for problem behavior of persons with autism and intellectual disabilities (ID).
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. How the classroom environment is designed, the ways in which adults and peers interact with each other, and the clarity of expectations and routines set the stage for a positive, or sometimes not so positive learning experience...
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 understand these terms in order to support students with disabilities. This is why we recommend that administrators, general and special education teachers, and itinerant and ancillary staff receive information and training about FAPE in the LRE...
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 notice that people tend to define what they can observe. As a result, treatment tends to focus on teaching a defined social behavior that an individual is expected to demonstrate without learning to problem solve when and why to use this skill.
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 particularly relevant to the average professional, provider, family member, or community member.
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 paraprofessionals a new title; we suggest calling them Independence Facilitators...
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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 Individualized Education Program (IEP). Peer to Peer programming is considered an evidence-based practice...
Read more about Peer LINKS, Elective Credit, and Pupil Accounting
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 and effective meetings adhere to a defined process and agreed upon guidelines that the group follows...
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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 and using social skills is often a challenge, making it difficult to navigate many social settings...
Read more about The PEERS® Approach to Social Skills Training
START Community Conversations Help Students Gain Valuable Opportunities
Given that young adults with ASD have the lowest employment rate among those with disabilities, and that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than double the rate for people without disabilities, it’s critical for schools to develop relationships and opportunities...
Read more about Community Conversations