STAR Autism Support Program
STAR Autism Support Program
The STAR Program (Strategies for Teaching based on Autism Research) is a school-based system that teaches children with ASD the critical skills needed to succeed in school and the community through the implementation of evidence-based practices in the classrooms.
Research has suggested that autism classrooms that utilize STAR have had more promising outcomes for students with autism when compared to programs that rely on their independently-created curriculum. We at AHRC New York City are partnering with STAR for a two-year collaboration in which STAR consultants work in our preschool autism-specific classrooms to provide more consistent, intensive, empirically-validated support for our children with ASD. The goal will be to create local resources (STAR coaches and training sites) that facilitate children’s development of the functional skills needed to be active participants in the school, home, and community. This infrastructure will support the implementation of uniform assessment strategies, instructional techniques, and skill development through the use of evidence-based practices by highly-trained teachers and school administrators.
The strategies included in STAR are:
- Antecedent-Based Interventions
- Time delay
- Task analysis
- Discrete Trial Training
- Functional Behavior Analysis
- Functional Communication Training
- Response Interruption/Redirection
- Differential Reinforcement
- Social Narratives
- Video Modeling
- Naturalistic Interventions
- Peer Mediated Intervention
- Pivotal Response Training
- Visual Supports
- Structured Work Systems
- Social Skills Training Groups
- Picture Exchange Communication Systems
Years of research on effective programming for children with autism support the use of these interventions in classrooms and help children acquire the skills for independence, learning, and socialization.
In the initial year, STAR trainers will utilize a five-phase plan at three of our preschool sites (two classrooms per site):
- Esther Ashkenas Central Park Early Learning Center
- Francis of Paola Early Center
- Howard Haber Early Learning Center
The 5 Phases of the STAR Program
Phase 1 consists of two days of initial training for classroom staff and key building personnel.
Phase 2 consists of STAR trainers working in the classrooms on the initial implementation of best practices
Phase 3 consists of continued on-site work in the selected classrooms at each preschool site
Phase 4 consists of the fidelity of implementation checks
Phase 5 consists of future STAR classrooms starting to work with initially-trained classrooms to prepare for the ensuing roll-out to classrooms addressed in year two.
The second year of the STAR partnership with AHRC New York City will consist of training the remaining two classrooms at each site to implement STAR practices with consistency and fidelity.
The first-year expectations are that each preschool site will develop two model classrooms that can be used for future training locations, and that the internal structure and intervention integrity will improve continuity and effectiveness of instruction. In the current environment of constantly arriving new students and potentially arriving new staff, systems development is integral to ensuring the maintenance of evidence-based autism programs. The partnership with STAR Autism support will help the AHRC New York City preschool autism classrooms develop the internal structure necessary for preparing young learners on the spectrum to integrate into their schools, families, and community.