How Do We Disseminate?: What School Staff and Parents Need to Implement Evidence Based Interventions in Public Schools

Oral Presentation
Thursday, May 10, 2018: 11:45 AM
Willem Burger Zaal (de Doelen ICC Rotterdam)
L. Kenworthy1, M. D. Powers2, A. Verbalis1, M. Troxel3, L. Anthony3 and Y. Myrick1, (1)Children's National Health System, Washington, DC, (2)Children's National Health System, Rockville, MD, (3)University of Colorado, Denver, Aurora, CO
Background: Public schools are the primary service provider for children with ASD over three, and unlike clinic settings, they are accessible for all children. School staff encounter significant obstacles to the adoption and implementation of evidence based (EB) autism treatments, however, including: a lack of cost/time-effective lower intensity interventions; ineffective training methods; and limited emphasis on the scientific evidence for various treatments (Wood et al., 2015; Stahmer et al., 2015; Stormont et al., 2011). Children without intellectual disability are the fastest growing segment of the burgeoning school-aged ASD population (CDC, 2014) and are often placed in mainstream educational classrooms, where they can succeed at basic academic skills, but struggle to access the educational curriculum related to social and executive function deficits (APA, 2013). There is a developing EB for lower-intensity, or Tier 2, school-based social and executive function interventions for these children (Kasari et al., 2016; Kenworthy, Anthony et al., 2014).

Objectives: Survey educational stakeholders across the nation regarding their: commitment to using EB interventions, knowledge of the EB for the interventions they use, and current and preferred methods for learning about interventions. Also, survey parents regarding their interest in school-based services.

Methods: Participants were English speakers/readers, >18 years old, with internet access and were either school staff/officials or parents of children in 3rd – 5th grade with ADHD or ASD. Recruitment was through advertising on online platforms, including Facebook “Boosted Posts” and nationally-read education publications. The educator survey focused specifically on Tier 2 educational interventions, defined in the survey as small group or classroom strategies targeting the 10-20% of students who need more intensive support than Tier 1 (=universal strategies), but less support than is provided in intensive, individualized Tier 3 interventions. Definitions were also provided in the survey for EB practices and executive function.

Results: Survey respondents reflected a nation-wide sample (223 zip codes). 76.3% of the 227 school-staff respondents reported a school policy of using EB practices. Yet, when asked to list the EB social skills and executive function interventions they use, they reported few interventions, and, identified many interventions as being EB that have no peer-reviewed published evidence of efficacy (Figure 1, details to be presented). School personnel report a discrepancy between how they get information about EB interventions and how they would like to get information (Figure 2), indicating that they rely heavily on personal research, but would like more mentoring and outside training (e.g., workshops, conferences). 85.6% of the 125 parent survey respondents want to devote substantial time (mean= 32(±58) hours/school-year) to school-based trainings to help them support school-based interventions for their children.

Conclusions: School personnel want to use EB interventions but do not have accurate information on the EB for the programs they use. They would like more professional training and hands-on mentoring, which aligns with research indicating long-term on-site training improves implementation. Parents want to partner with schools to support interventions. Future research should investigate the dissemination of EB Tier 2 interventions with self-sustaining school-based training models for teachers and parents.