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National Center for Special Education Research address the full range of issues facing children with disbilities, parents of children with disabilities...

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NCSER-funded Research & Development Center Authors Special Journal Issue on Interventions for High School Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

The Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (CSESA), funded through NCSER, has published a series of articles in the March 2014 special issue of Remedial and Special Education on supporting high school students with ASD.

As the prevalence increases, more adolescents with ASD are entering high school, a very complex context for these students to navigate its social, behavioral, and academic demands. "High school + adolescence + autism spectrum disorders creates unique challenges for educational program, individuals with ASD, and families," explains Principal Investigator Sam Odom (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill). Because most studies of ASD focus on younger children, there is a paucity of research on comprehensive school-based interventions for adolescents with ASD, coupled with growing concern for their high school experiences and postsecondary outcomes. To address this gap, CSESA is developing a comprehensive, school-based intervention that focuses on: (1) evidence-based practice implementation, (2) academic performance, (3) peer and social competence, (4) independence and self-management, (5) transition to postsecondary life, and (6) families of students with ASD. The CSESA investigators, led Odom, are experts in a variety of fields across seven universities. They are currently pilot testing the various intervention components and gearing up for the start of a 3-year randomized controlled trial to study the efficacy of the entire CSESA model intervention.

For this special journal issue, CSESA investigators authored all six articles, each one centered around one of the six intervention focus areas described above. The articles are aimed at scholars, practitioners, and families. Odom states, "Authors summarize the most current available knowledge about effective intervention practices, sometimes extrapolating from the broader literature on developmental disabilities and its implications for students with ASD." The papers synthesize the current status of research-based practices for students with ASD in secondary schools, and discuss future directions designed to enhance postsecondary outcomes for this population, including examples from CSESA. CSESA staff