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CAPACITY BUILDING: EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE AND ADOLESCENTS ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM

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Abstract

Empirical research in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has resulted in the identification of numerous evidence-based interventions (EBIs). Adolescents with an ASD are faced with unique academic challenges, complex social environments, and physiological changes. They often require interventions to aid in acclimating to their evolving social environments and physical changes. One of the many challenges for practitioners working with adolescents is turning research findings into practice. We provide a framework to build capacity within a middle or high-school setting to implement EBIs for adolescent students with an ASD. Key elements of implementing EBIs in the school setting include: developing a team of professionals dedicated to achieving a system change, a systematic plan, monitoring progress, and a plan for sustainability. Teacher training is an essential part of implementing EBIs in an educational setting. Empirical evidence suggests that teacher training consists of different strategies including in-vivo training. Accessing resources outside of the school system, such as professionals at universities and teaching hospitals, can aid in training and other aspects of implementing EBIs in the classroom.

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