START Connecting Articles

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...

Read more about Peer to Peer 2.0. 

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. First and foremost, inclusion is a human right. Everyone, regardless of whether they have a disability, deserves access to full participation in the community, including education...

Read more about Promoting Inclusion and Belonging Everyday

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. Imagine a student who is interested in using an iPad app for communication. During acquisition, circumstances are created to foster engagement and motivate communication.

Read the Joint Statement on the Use of Prompting

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.

Read more about Empowering Students through Self-determination

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in Schools: Supporting Students with Autism within a Tiered Approach

Numerous evidenced-based interventions have been derived from the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and used to support learners both with and without IEPs, across the school day. In this article, we 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.

Read more about using ABA to support all students within a tiered approach

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in Schools:  Understanding the Fundamentals to Effectively Use ABA

Fundamentally, evidence-based instruction and behavior support have a basis in ABA. Using behavior analysis involves systematically planning and delivering interventions while collecting and visually analyzing data to make decisions about the effectiveness of the interventions being implemented. 

Read more about understanding the fundamentals of ABA in schools

Be There For Each Other Through Coaching

What is the key to high-performing teams, especially during times of physical and emotional exhaustion? According to Simon Sinek, “It’s their willingness to be there for each other.” At START, we view coaching as an important way to “be there for each other” as we work together to implement the evidence-based practices that are essential for students with autism and other support needs...

Read more about coaching.

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 (Owen-DeSchryver et al., 2022) suggest that being a peer support can benefit a different subset of students in your school: students with lower GPAs, lower attendance, and behavior support needs...

Read more about the benefits for peer supports...

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. To teach these skills and set up a successful classroom environment, it is useful to have a systematic program for teaching, modeling, practicing, and reinforcing these foundational skills...

Read more about PLS...

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. While the strategy of the two evidence-based programs varies, the outcomes of the programs are the same.

Read more about a collaboration between Peer to Peer and UCS...

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, family, educational IEP team, community agencies, and other professionals. 

Read more about transition planning for autistic adolescents and young adults...

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 from across the state to share their favorite books, podcasts, websites, and videos about autism, specifically by, about, and for people with autism... 

Read more about inclusion and advocacy resources

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, and by using this approach, children will learn routines and rules that will follow them into their school years...

Read more about Behavioral Expectations for Early Childhood Classrooms

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, and may be used individually or in a group format. What are the components of BST? While simple in concept, there is planning involved along with decisions at each step of BST that will make it more or less effective...

Read more about BST

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. As we approach the new semester, this might be an opportunity for school teams to reflect on their Peer to Peer programs and move toward a stronger participation model. The participation model shifts from a helping approach...

Read more about the Participation Model

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. In May 1997, the moment my parents were told by the doctor that I was autistic, my mother was in disbelief. They told her I may graduate from high school, but I would never go to college. Furthermore, they said, “She will also never fall in love, get married, or have kids of her own, and she would most likely live in a group home for the rest of her life...”

Read more about Holly Miller.

Page last modified May 24, 2023