Echo Autism Model for Training School Psychologists and Applied Behavior Analysts

Poster Presentation
Thursday, May 10, 2018: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Hall Grote Zaal (de Doelen ICC Rotterdam)
K. O'Connor1 and J. Randolph2, (1)MU Thompson Center, Columbia, MO, (2)University of Missouri, Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Columbia, MO

Given the heterogeneity of individuals with autism and the complex assessment and programming needs for this population, professionals working with individuals with autism are required to continue their education in order to advance their craft and stay current on evidence-based practices. Yet, there is limited research on the methods, social validity and efficacy of continuing education (CE) opportunities provided to professionals.

Additionally, access to high quality CE opportunities are limited for professionals working in rural areas and regions with limited local expertise available. The Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) model has been utilized and researched across multiple healthcare conditions as an effective tool for providing professional training using case based teaching and an online community of practice to areas with limited local expertise. (Arora, et al., 2011; Katzman, et al., 2014; Mazurek, 2017; Scott, et al., 2012).

This presentation will provide data from two cohorts of professionals participating in a 9-month ECHO program specifically designed as CE for their professional role: 1) A cohort of behavior analysts participated in ECHO Autism: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), 2) A cohort of school psychologists participated in ECHO Autism: School Psychology.


The objectives of this study were to examine the efficacy and acceptability of the ECHO model for School Psychologists and Behavior Analysts. Efficacy data was obtained through pre/post content assessments and pre/post reported use of and confidence with principles/interventions in their respective fields. Social validity data was collected on the acceptability of the ECHO model for CE.


Participants included practicing school psychologists, educational diagnosticians and special education administrators (n=15) in ECHO School Psychology and practicing Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and assistants (BCaBAs; n=16) in ECHO ABA.

This study utilized a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the acceptability and efficacy of ECHO for CE. Through the ECHO framework, each of the cohorts participated in a one-hour, monthly online meeting for 9 months. The host panel of experts (in each respective field) facilitated a discussion based on a presented case and provided a content presentation on advanced professional principles.


  • Pre/post self-efficacy and confidence surveys: comprehensive survey regarding confidence and frequency of use principles/interventions in their respective field
  • Pre/post content assessments for each session
  • Social validity survey for each session
  • Social validity survey upon completion of program with an emphasis on acceptability of CE opportunities


The data collection is ongoing and will be completed in early spring 2018. Participant pre/post outcomes on the content assessment and confidence/frequency survey will be analyzed. Analyses will also be conducted to examine the relationship between participant characteristics (e.g., years of experience, self-efficacy, attendance) in relation to intervention use and content assessment outcomes.


The preliminary results of ECHO for CE for special education professionals. The results of this study may provide support for the use of case based learning and an online community of practice to advance professional knowledge. These results may inform the field to evaluate CE opportunities and refine how to determine the efficacy and social validity of professional development.