Training Academy: Supporting Educational Personnel to Train Their Staff in ASD

Poster Presentation
Saturday, May 4, 2019: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Room: 710 (Palais des congres de Montreal)



Education professionals rarely receive specialized training in autism. This study further evaluated a new Training Academy to support existing school personnel to train their own staff. Following a successful pilot study (IMFAR, 2017), this abstract now reports the full results of our developed training model. Participants attended the Training Academy as a collaborative cohort. The cohort received training materials and in-vivo practice sessions, prior to delivery of each training. Participants were required to provide their own school staff with 3 trainings: ASD for a general audience; ASD specific to paraprofessionals; ASD specific to speech, social work and O.T.


This study investigated the effectiveness of the Academy model to increase education professionals competence in delivering training to their staff. Two consecutive cohorts were utilized. The study addressed:

  • educator change in competence of training skills gained across the training period
  • the relationship of educators self-efficacy to outcome
  • the relationship of educator self-efficacy to professional experience prior to training


Participating educators (n= 29) who attended the Academy completed a structured questionnaire pre and post training.

The questionnaire emphasized key aspects of training competencies. Three sections described a training scenario related to (i) general ASD knowledge, (ii) paraprofessional competencies (iii) related services competencies. The final questionnaire had 12 questions; maximum score, 72.

In addition, the participants completed the ASSET, a self-report measure to assess self efficacy in ASD specific skills (Ruble et al.,2013).


  1. i) T-test revealed that there was a significant (p<.01) increase in competence scores pre and post training academy for each type of training provided (general ASD, paraprofessional, related services).
  2. ii) ASSET scores were divided by the mean to create high and low self efficacy groups. To compare group performance pre and post training, scores were entered into a repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance, with time (pre, post) as the within subjects repeated measure and group (high, low SE) as the between factor.

There was no significant group by time interaction effects.

iii) To determine the effect of prior experience on educator self-efficacy, data was entered in a logistic regression model with group membership (high and low self-efficacy) as the dependent variable, and lifetime number of ASD students, educational level, and years teaching as covariates. There were no significant effects of professional experience predicting self-efficacy group membership.


These results indicate the effectiveness of our training program. By attending the training, educators increased their confidence in their ability to train the autism curriculum to their staff. Educators in both the low and high self-efficacy groups increased their training competence scores over the training period. Furthermore, educators’ self-efficacy for training competencies appeared to have little relationship to their prior professional experience, experience with autism or their educational level. This has important implications for training educational professionals. Even professionals who have many years experience, or who have taught many students with ASD, can increase their own training competence by attending an intensive training. The Training Academy is now being provided to professionals in subsequent cohorts.

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See more of: Education