Texas Autism Resource Guide for Effective Teaching (TARGET)
The Texas Autism Resource Guide for Effective Teaching (TARGET) is designed to assist schools in developing practices from initial referral to program development and implementation with a strong emphasis on research-based and peer-reviewed strategies. As such, this guide contains three sections relating to autism spectrum disorders (ASD or *AU): (a) introduction, (b) evaluation, and (c) interventions. Evaluations are divided by categories of evaluation (e.g., language, motor, adaptive functioning). Evidence-based interventions are defined according to the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder (NPDC) definition of scientific evidence. In addition to these interventions, we present intervention practices that have some scientific evidence and others that have no scientific evidence to support them. Therefore, we have created three categories of interventions: Evidence-Based Practices (EBP; full scientific support); some scientific support; and no support. Within each category, evaluations and interventions are presented in random order or through specific search terms; item order reflects no endorsement or mandate. Further, decisions about which evaluations and interventions to use are left to qualified individuals or committees charged with reviewing and creating programs for students with autism.
This guide serves multiple purposes for various groups of stakeholders:
- It provides a single access point for information related to evaluating and teaching students with autism.
- It describes various evaluation measures and the research that supports their use for individuals with ASD. Educational professionals who have the required experience and training to administer these instruments can use the evaluation section to help them make decisions regarding which instruments match the strengths and needs of students they are evaluating.
- Educational professionals can read about interventions that have been used with students with autism. Each intervention with an evidence of support will have a matrix for that intervention by outcome (social, communication, behavior, joint attention, play, cognitive, school readiness, academic, motor, adaptive, vocational, and mental health) and age (in years). Within the intervention section, the reader can also access a synthesis of research as well as additional resources to learn more about each intervention.
Information for this resource guide was generated from an extensive computer search that was consistent with NPCD’s search criteria. Specifically, we used Academic Search Complete, CINAHL, ERIC, PsycINFO, MEDLINE, Web of Science, and Sociological Abstract databases with the search terms ASD, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, PDD, and PDDNOS.
Although the scope of this guide is extensive, not all articles on autism appear here, and articles that address other developmental disabilities were not included in this review. A concerted effort has been made to structure each section so that it is easily accessible to school professionals whose time is limited. A brief description of the structure of each section follows.
*In education, the term “autism” and the abbreviation “AU” are used to describe the spectrum of autism with ASD. The matrix which is organized by outcome and age, precedes each intervention and identifies the most appropriate use of the intervention. The age group (i.e, 0-5; 6-14; 15-22) and outcome area are specified for each intervention. Within the intervention section, the reader can also access specific steps on how to implement the intervention.
The TARGET is a website designed primarily for educators and family members. One of its primary goals is to be a rich resource for professionals and families who develop and/or implement effective interventions, one that contributes to thoughtful intervention planning and results in successful outcomes for the individual with autism.