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Autism Awareness: An Evidence-Based Resource for Schools

Special Education

Guest Authors: Teri Rinewalt and Dr. Sarah Halle

Feeling helpless in a situation where all you want to do is improve a student’s functioning is an extremely common outcome for school staff in the complex daily world of autism. Slow or no progress can lead to frustration for teachers who believe they have already tried all the tools in their toolboxes.

As specialists called to assist in those moments when staff have “tried it all” and “nothing is working,” leaving everyone, including the child, feeling frustrated and unproductive, we consult our favorite evidence-based autism resource: The National Autism Center’s (NAC) Evidence-Based Practice and Autism in the Schools report, also known as the National Standards Project.

This report functions as a handbook of sorts and is a source of reliable information for staff striving to provide appropriate interventions to students with autism. We use it for:

  • Intervention selection and reformation
  • Avoiding interventions not yet considered evidence-based
  • Educating parents and answering their questions on the latest intervention strategies

Each intervention included in the report is categorized within one of three levels (as an established intervention, emerging intervention or unestablished intervention), so it’s easy to see which strategies have been successful and which need further research.

Read the Full Report  

National Autism Center. (2015). Evidence-based practice and autism in the schools (2nd ed.). Randolph, MA. Retrieved from:

Teri Rinewalt

Working with people on the Autism Spectrum has been a passion of Teri’s since having a student in her kindergarten class in 2001. Through that experience, she learned about patience, the joy one child can bring, and how to modify and adjust on the fly! She became an educational diagnostician in 2009, specializing in assessments, interventions and trainings for autism. Before becoming a special education administrator, Teri spent years working with and learning from children with disabilities. She still uses all the tools she acquired in the classroom in her work as an advocate for children and families of students with disabilities.

Dr. Sarah Halle

Sarah Halle has provided psychological services in the public-school setting for the past 17 years. Specializing in autism, inclusive of assessment, education programming and intervention, she presently contracts with schools in the state of Texas providing individualized services for students, families and administration wherein autism remains her focus. Sarah has a Ph.D. in School Psychology and is a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology.

Frontline Education

Frontline Education provides school administration software partnering with over 12,000 K-12 organizations and millions of educators, administrators and support personnel in their efforts to develop the next generation of learners. With more than 15 years of experience serving the front line of education, Frontline Education is dedicated to providing actionable intelligence that enables informed decisions and drives engagement across school systems. Bringing together the best education software solutions into one unified platform, Frontline makes it possible to efficiently and effectively manage the administrative needs of the education community, including their recruiting and hiring, employee absences and attendance, professional growth and special education and interventions programs. Frontline Education corporate headquarters are in Malvern, Pennsylvania, with offices in Andover, Massachusetts, Rockville Centre, New York and Chicago, Illinois.

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