DEVELOPMENTAL SCREENING PRACTICES IN EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION SETTINGS​

Despite widespread availability of evidence-based developmental screening tools, few are used systematically in preschool and daycare settings to track the development of young children. Increased use of such tools may quicken identification of significant developmental delays such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and improve children’s access to needed early intervention services. Our team has developed a comprehensive professional development curriculum for early childhood teachers on how to use the Ages and Stages Questionnaires, Third Edition (ASQ-3; Squires & Bricker, 2016) as part of a comprehensive developmental screening program. We are currently investigating the feasibility and acceptability of this program, as well as its impact on teacher and family attitudes about screening.

TRANSITION-FOCUSED, FAMILY-SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP INTERVENTION FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS WITH AUTISM

By 2027, nearly 500,000 students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will transition out of high school (Smith & Lugas, 2010). Despite negative outcomes for these youth, few systematic interventions exist to address transition planning and preparation. To address this need, our team is developing a transition-focused, family-school partnership program for 7th and 8th grade students with autism, their families and educators. We will work with parents to provide psychoeducation focused on several transition-focused topics such as work-related social skills. Individual planning meetings will also be conducted with parents, students, and educators using a family-school partnership approach. Findings will examine program feasibility and stakeholder satisfaction.

EMOTION REGULATION INTERVENTION FOR PRESCHOOLERS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER

Many children with ASD experience difficulties with regulating their emotions. However, interventions targeting this skill are designed for older children and adolescents with ASD. We have developed and pilot tested a parent-mediated intervention targeting emotion regulation skills in preschool-age children with ASD to address the lack of available interventions for this age group. Intervention sessions teach caregivers to use child-friendly techniques grounded in research on emotion and behavioral analysis to support effective emotion identification, expression and management in their children.