Each year, cohorts of personnel from school districts and their collaborating programs will be selected to participate in the Early Intervention Autism initiative based on district data and interest. Collaborating partners may include for-profit or non-profit programs that will work with district personnel to implement strategies and programs that are utilized in this project. It is expected that up to nine school districts and their collaborating partner programs in three geographic regions of the state will participate in the project each year with follow-up support provided in subsequent years.
Following an awareness webinar conducted by the Emory Autism Center for district special education directors, principals, and agency partners, school districts and their partner programs were selected to participate in the Early Intervention Autism Project for the 2013 – 2014 school year, the first year for this new initiative funded through Georgia’s State Personnel Development Grant.
In order to participate in the Early Intervention Autism Project, school districts must agree to the following project requirements and expectations:
- Special education directors and principals from interested school districts and their collaborating partners must participate in an awareness webinar that outlines the project purpose, activities, expectations, and benefits. Following the webinar, special education directors must contact the Georgia Department of Education or the Emory Autism Center to express interest in the project.
- Districts are selected based on the need for project services as determined by district-level performance on the preschool State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report Indicators 6 (Pre-school Educational Environments) and 7 (Pre-school Outcomes) and a commitment to increasing inclusion of children with autism in general education classes.
- Each district selected to participate in the project will identify an Autism Implementation Team that will participate in a two-day, statewide Planning Session for the purpose of assessing program readiness by reviewing baseline data. The team will receive training in evidence-based strategies designed to improve preschool readiness skills and facilitate successful transition to an inclusive school program. The team will support implementation of all project activities in the district.
- Administrators from school districts that have agreed to participate as a Cohort program will sign detailed agreements with the GaDOE that define project expectations and district responsibilities.
- Each district will develop an Autism Implementation Plan that includes detailed evidence-based programs and strategies related to school readiness for children with autism spectrum disorder.
- Each district will require targeted early intervention teachers, related service personnel, and paraprofessionals to participate in didactic and “hands on” training within two classrooms from each school district.
- Each district will require participating teachers, related service providers, and paraprofessionals to implement evidence-based practices in autism within target outcome areas.
- Each district will require participating teachers, related service providers, and paraprofessionals to collect implementation fidelity data, outcome data, and an annual review of findings. Each district will agree to revise evidence-based practices based on findings.
Read more about the districts and programs participating in the Early Intervention Autism Initiative.