Autism is a neurological disorder characterized by challenges in socialization and communication. The phrase “spectrum disorder” is used to indicate that ASD characteristics range on a continuum from very mild to significantly limiting.
We are still waiting for the answer. Scientists are studying the interaction between genetic, neurological, and environmental factors in the search for answers. In the meantime, 1 in every 68 kids and 1 in every 42 boys in the United States is facing a lifetime of challenges associated with their ASD diagnoses.
Autism2Ability provides the tools and skills kids with ASD need to successfully Talk, Learn, and Live in a changing and challenging world through online personalized education and communication resources. The long-term goal is full participation in family, school, and community life and independence.
Unfortunately, the number of services and qualified professionals to serve kids with ASD has not kept pace with the increased ASD rates. Services that are available are often limited and disjointed. In addition, many parents cannot afford the private schools or one-on-one therapies that may be needed and are looking for other solutions.
Adding to the concern, is that 74 percent of U.S. working-aged youth and adults with ASD are unemployed, but would like to work; and (b) 84 percent of adults with ASD still live with their families. Autism Avenue can provide the tools and skills needed to change that future reality for kids with ASD.
Autism2Ability is unique and comprehensive in resources offered to equip kids with ASD with the tools and skills needed to successfully Talk, Learn, and Live in a changing and challenging. In addition, Autism2Ability is the only known on-line personalized resource addressing mandated IDEA modified achievement standards. Although Autism2Ability was created for kids with ASD, the on-line personalized resources are available to all kids, with and without disabilities, who may benefit.
A recent Harris poll indicated that parents seek information from online resources, support groups and other families with special needs kids, so we’ve added a community section to the web site to allow parents to contact and network with each other. Autism2Ability brings together education, research and support for families touched by ASD.
Yes, the program starts with assessment. In fact, before kids access the online personalized resources, parents and/or teachers complete online assessments for each Autism2Ability component (i.e., Talk, Learn, and Live) providing profiles of information. Profiles, in turn, guide Autism2Ability recommendations and customized curriculum.
They can, but they can also jump into the program at any step.
The multidisciplinary research team developed the LEARN lessons following evidence-based practice which serves to bridge the gap from science-to-practice through three core components (a) best research evidence, (b) professional expertise, and (c) family preferences and values.
Lessons were developed based on the National Autism Center’s established intervention strategies as outlined in the National Standards Report (NAC, 2009) Intervention strategies determined established(i.e., the highest classification) in addressing academic and non-academic skills were used exclusively in development of the on-line personalized resources.
Preferences and Values
The assessment process engages parents in an on-line planning process to ensure that their preferences and values are addressed in development of the customized curriculum for their kids (Individualized Action Plans - IAP). Teachers may also participate in on-line planning. Evidence-based practice ensures that the preferences and values of the family guide the IAP development, thereby promoting collaboration between families and professionals.
The Autism2Ability LEARN curriculum represents grade level academic content with modified and alternative achievement standards as outlined in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The curriculum also addresses non academic skills (e.g., self-regulation) as outlined in the National Autism Center’s Standards Report (2009).
The NCLB Act and IDEA are two important federal laws relating to the education of children. The NCLB provisions apply to all students, including those with disabilities while IDEA focuses on specialized services for students with disabilities.
NCLB requires all states to have challenging academic content standards (what students need to know) and academic achievement standards (how well students need to know the content standards). More importantly, NCLB requires that these content and achievement standards are the same for all students, including students with disabilities. It is this requirement that establishes high expectations for all students regardless of the history of their performance.
NCLB also recognizes that for some students, mastery of grade-level academic content may proceed more slowly and require more intensive instruction. For such students, NCLB allows states to develop modified and/or alternative academic achievement standards.
Studies of kids with ASD demonstrated:
- Positive changes in behavior, communication, and social interaction;
- Increased motivation and attention;
- Increased vocabulary;
- Improved reading skills compared to traditional teaching;
- Increased vocal imitation (which supports development of speech);
- Reduced repetitive and inappropriate language; and
- Improved problem-solving.