The purpose of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant proposal is to highlight the steps that Danya International, Inc. (Danya), will take to develop Educating Adults About Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders (EACA), an educational training program for school personnel who regularly interact with children in grades 1 through 5 with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). EACA is an innovative multimedia training program specifically designed to meet the pressing need for educational resources for adults who interact with the growing numbers of children with ASDs entering the public education system. Program components will include a training facilitator's guide, participant workbook, and audiovisual program supplement to be used during in-person staff trainings. The educational training program will cover topic areas such as the definition and description of ASDs, how to engage and effectively interact with a child with autism, and how to manage problem behaviors, with customized sections for different types of adults in public school settings (personal assistants/one-on-one aides [known as paraeducators], principals, bus drivers, physical education teachers, art/music teachers, cafeteria workers/librarians). During Phase I, the project team will create training program materials for two modules: (1) """"""""Definition and Description of ASD"""""""" and (2) the customized module for paraeducators, as well as draft an outline for the remaining general modules: """"""""Engaging and Interacting With a Child With ASD"""""""" and """"""""Managing Problem Behaviors."""""""" Throughout product development, the project team will obtain input and feedback from key stakeholders and our expert Advisory Panel. At the end of the Phase I project, we will conduct a pilot study using a randomized experimental/lagged control design with paraeducators to determine acceptability and usability as well as to assess effectiveness in increasing participants'knowledge related to understanding ASDs and promoting positive attitudes toward children with ASDs. EACA will be an innovative multimedia training program to aid school personnel by teaching them how to properly interact with children with ASDs to assist in their inclusion in the classroom, on school buses, and on playing fields via a cost-efficient, easy-to-use, position-specific intervention.
Educating Adults about Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (EACA) will be an educational training program for school personnel who regularly interact with children in grades 1 through 5. Customized sections for adults in public school settings, such as paraeducators, administrators, bus drivers, and librarians, will effectively engage and train these adults to positively interact with a child with autism, manage problem behaviors, and foster social inclusion in various school settings.