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April 28th, 2006

The National Standards Project

I’m currently attending the AEN conference in San Jose, CA. The primary focus of the project is on a “National Standards Project” which will focus on the urgent need for universally accepted standards that promote evidence-based treatment approaches for autism.

This is exciting stuff! I’ll follow-up in the next week with additional information. Here’s some information pulled from the National Autism Center web site:

The National Standards Project is an unprecedented effort to produce a set of peer reviewed standards for evidence-based education and behavioral intervention for children with autism. The standards will also give policy-makers the tools they need to ensure that effective, scientifically sound treatment programs receive crucial funding.

The technical manual will be the basis for the development of additional materials targeted for specific audiences and uses. Projects presently scheduled include:

1) A handbook for families providing criteria for selecting evidence-based services.

2) A handbook for public school systems outling specific evidence-based program components, procedures, and implementation strategies.

3) Published recommendations for physicians on how to counsel families to identify effective services for their children with autism.

4) Professional training in how to implement the national standards.

5) Practical web-based material to help families and practitioners learn about the standards and their implementation.

Participants in the project include nationally recognized experts.

The need for standards is well established in the field. In 2001 the National Research Council (NRC) assembled a multi-disciplinary subcommittee to integrate the scientific, theoretical, and policy literature pertaining to the education and treatment of children with autism and to disseminate a preliminary set of recommendations. Although the NRC Report summarized the components of evidence-based approaches to education, it did not provide details explicit enough for standards implementation. An National Institute of Health (NIH) sponsored Autism Summit in 2003 further confirmed the need for standards.

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