START Connecting Articles
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. While the Passport helped schools and families address important, age-appropriate independence skills, we received feedback...
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). IDEA indicates a strong preference for educating children with disabilities in regular classes alongside their peers without disabilities in the definition of Least Restrictive Environment.
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! We are eager to reconnect through trainings, Communities of Practice (CoP), Regional Collaborative Network (RCN) meetings, and various projects.
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. 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...
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.
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
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.
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.
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...
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...
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...
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.
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.
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...
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...