The purpose of this K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award is to support the applicant in developing the skills necessary to become an independent researcher in the implementation and sustainment of autism-related interventions in school settings. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex and lifelong developmental disability that affects 1 in 88 children in the United States. With the growing number of children with ASD enrolled in public schools, it is imperative that schools implement and sustain evidence- based interventions (EBIs) to improve children's academic, behavioral, and social outcomes. The 2012 Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Strategic Plan for ASD Research states that successful implementation in community settings of EBIs is lacking, and there are no specific studies that examine these issues. This K01 application capitalizes on an existing university-community partnership with the School District of Philadelphia to systematically examine implementation issues of a district-mandated autism EBI in urban public schools on a large scale. Under the mentorship of David Mandell, ScD, and a team of expert consultants, the proposed training and research activities will enable the applicant to: 1) understand which organizational factors affect implementation in schools;2) develop expertise in mixed methods design to understand how organizational factors promote or impede implementation processes in public schools;and 3) acquire expertise in developing implementation interventions to address modifiable variables to improve the use and sustainment of autism EBIs in schools. The research activities associated with these training goals include three aims that build upon each other.
Aim 1 will use quantitative methods to examine staff- and school-level factors as predictors of implementation and sustainment of an EBI for children with ASD.
Aim 2 will use qualitative methods to further explore the staff-and school-level factors uncovered in Aim 1 by closely examining the implementation processes for a subset of high and low performing classrooms implementing an EBI for children with ASD. Lastly, in Aim 3, the applicant will develop an implementation intervention to support schools in their use and sustainment of autism EBIs. Findings from the proposed research projects have the potential to provide schools with the necessary supports to use EBIs and markedly improve the academic, behavioral, and social outcomes of children with ASD in public school settings.

Public Health Relevance

The work proposed in this application, Staff and School Factors Affecting Implementation of ASD Interventions in Schools, has the potential to help public schools implement and sustain evidence-based interventions (EBIs) to support many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The mentorship, training, and research activities proposed in this K01 award will result in an in-depth understanding of the implementation process in schools including what staff- and school-level factors promote or impede implementation and are likely to change with an implementation intervention. With the growing number of children with ASD enrolled in public schools, there is a great need for independent investigators with the knowledge to conduct this type of work to establish university-community partnerships to support schools in their implementation and sustainment of EBIs to improve children's academic, behavioral, and social outcomes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (SERV)
Program Officer
Hill, Lauren D
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Pennsylvania
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Anderson, Ariana; Locke, Jill; Kretzmann, Mark et al. (2016) Social network analysis of children with autism spectrum disorder: Predictors of fragmentation and connectivity in elementary school classrooms. Autism 20:700-9
Locke, Jill; Beidas, Rinad S; Marcus, Steven et al. (2016) A mixed methods study of individual and organizational factors that affect implementation of interventions for children with autism in public schools. Implement Sci 11:135
Chang, Ya-Chih; Locke, Jill (2016) A systematic review of peer-mediated interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder. Res Autism Spectr Disord 27:1-10
Kang-Yi, Christina D; Locke, Jill; Pellecchia, Melanie et al. (2016) Decline in Medicaid-Funded One-to-One Behavioral Support Use in School as Children Age. School Ment Health 8:344-353
Locke, Jill; Shih, Wendy; Kretzmann, Mark et al. (2016) Examining playground engagement between elementary school children with and without autism spectrum disorder. Autism 20:653-62
Kang-Yi, Christina D; Locke, Jill; Marcus, Steven C et al. (2016) School-Based Behavioral Health Service Use and Expenditures for Children With Autism and Children With Other Disorders. Psychiatr Serv 67:101-6
Kratz, Hilary E; Locke, Jill; Piotrowski, Zinnia et al. (2015) All Together Now: Measuring Staff Cohesion in Special Education Classrooms. J Psychoeduc Assess 33:329-338
Locke, Jill; Olsen, Anne; Wideman, Rukiya et al. (2015) A tangled web: the challenges of implementing an evidence-based social engagement intervention for children with autism in urban public school settings. Behav Ther 46:54-67
Eiraldi, Ricardo; Wolk, Courtney Benjamin; Locke, Jill et al. (2015) Clearing Hurdles: The Challenges of Implementation of Mental Health Evidence-Based Practices in Under-resourced Schools. Adv Sch Ment Health Promot 8:124-145
Iadarola, Suzannah; Hetherington, Susan; Clinton, Christopher et al. (2015) Services for children with autism spectrum disorder in three, large urban school districts: Perspectives of parents and educators. Autism 19:694-703

Showing the most recent 10 out of 11 publications