The Autism Training Grant is designed to provide students in the School Psychology program at the University of Utah to be proficient in up-to-date evidence based practices in early assessment, interventions, and parent training/coaching for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The primary focus of training will be to train 40 masters level school psychologists to be experts in the assessment, diagnosis, and interventions for students with ASD. The range of age will encompass ASD students from pre-school to the later ages of educational eligibility. All levels of student functioning will be addressed in the specialty track training. In addition, the intervention model will encompass a Positive Behavior Supports/Response to Intervention (PBS/RTI) model for intervention.
ASD is the fastest growing psychiatric disability category in the United States and the state of Utah has the highest reported incidence of autism in the US population. Increasing numbers of children with autism and the cost of their education are important factors in establishing need for this training grant. However, the critical need for children, families, and society is based on the long term outcome for individuals with ASD. This is especially true if nothing or little is done early in a child’s life. Individuals with ASD have some of the poorest long term outcomes of any childhood psychiatric disability. A clear shortage has been demonstrated for school psychologists with specialized training in the ASD area. At the consultant and direct service level in public schools, the shortage of qualified school psychologists is a chronic issue indicating the utility of a training grant with a focus on ASD.
The training model will emphasize a background foundation in evidence based practice for students with ASD emphasizing the 24 intervention practices highlighted by the National Professional Development Center. The delivery model will be through a positive behavior support and response to intervention model emphasizing early assessment and diagnoses, conducting functional behavior assessments, ongoing data analysis and IEP goal assessment, classroom applications, specialized social skills training, language and communication interventions, parent training and coaching, and case consultation. Students will participate in classes to provide training in these areas, complete projects to enhance their knowledge in these areas, and practicum experiences to apply their knowledge and training in school and clinical settings.
Individuals interested in more information about the Autism Training Grant should contact Dr. William R. Jenson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Julia Hood at email@example.com.