Designing an outcome study to monitor the progress of students with autism spectrum disorders.
by Joel R. Arick; Helen E. Young; Ruth A. Falco; Lauren M. Loos; David A. Krug; Marilyn H. Gense; Steven B. Johnson.
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The Autism Spectrum Disorders Outcome Study is tracking the educational progress of 67 students, between the ages of 2 and 6 years, whose primary diagnosis for services is an autism spectrum disorder. This article describes the study, how student outcomes have been measured, and how student progress has been reported to service providers and parents. Outcome data has been collected from performance observations, parent and teacher surveys, and standardized assessments. The strength of this data-collection approach is that it uses a variety of sources and multiple methods to monitor student progress. Initial results, based on the first 16 months of the study, have shown that the majority of the children have made significant progress in the areas of social interaction, expressive speech, and use of language concepts. In addition, they have displayed significant decreases in behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorders.