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Collaborating with experts to support schools and deliver professional development, ensuring the success of all students.

ASAP: VT-HEC’s Comprehensive Training Program on Autism Spectrum Disorders

ASAP  – Approaching the Solution to the Autism Puzzle

The Vermont Interagency White Paper on Autism Spectrum Disorders of 2006 confirmed what all school districts in Vermont have been experiencing: a dramatic increase in students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) over an extended period of time.  Among the things the White Paper identified as being critical to address this growth was a significant increase in professional development to expand the capacity of case managers and staff to meet the needs of these students. Unfortunately, research has shown that most inservice training never results in the new skills and knowledge being consistently applied to benefit students.

VT-HEC’s new program, ASAP, aims to change that by developing a sustained, comprehensive and coordinated professional learning program on ASD that includes graduate courses, embedded professional development and workshop series that provide multiple year-round options for effective professional learning on ASD.  ASAP graduate courses can lead to VT-HEC’s Autism Specialist Certificate and include two courses to be offered this spring, ABA I starting in January, and ASD: Issues in Assessment & Intervention taught by the distinguished Dr. Particia Prelock of UVM. (If you have not taken a course from Patty you are missing a great opportunity to learn from an extremely knowledgeable and accomplished educator)

To help ensure professional development actually results in changes for students ASAP is providing a coordinated program of sustained and embedded inter-disciplinary professional development and supports for schools working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The ASAP team of experts takes the best interventions and assessments from multiple perspectives and delivers training and coaching to the school team to help them work together to apply the new skills to the students they are working with. Ultimately, it is the goal that these local school teams will be able to act as supports for other members of their school community in addressing the needs of all their students with ASD. ASAP has been piloting this program in Barre City and is now ready to accept new school districts in the program.

To compliment this work, the ASAP program is also offering a series of three workshops this spring focused on increasing learning opportunities for young children with ASD as well as a special workshop focusing on using iPads with students with ASD.  Chris Knippenberg, OT, will be the lead presenter for the series of workshops that will have participants actively engaged in developing the kind of appropriate tasks and materials for pre-school and early elementary-aged students with ASD that will result in increasing their engagement, independence and learning.

Kathryn Whitaker will be leading the workshop that will show how iPads can be used effectively and creatively for students with SLD in a morning session and ASD in the afternoon.   To find out more about these exciting learning opportunities see:  and

If you are particularly interested in how technology can be used with students who have challenges to their learning, the VT-HEC is offering another interesting option: two workshops with Chris CichoskiKelly that will explore this topic in depth and give you the opportunity to try out programs with students in between the two workshops

For more information on ASAP and VT-HEC’s other related offerings contact Joy Wilcox, ASAP Coordinator  ([email protected])


Dennis has been the Director of the the VT-HEC since it was founded in 2000. He spent 16 years at the VT-DOE as Director of teams with various names that included: special education, Title I, health and wellness and other family and education support services. Prior to that Dennis worked at the Barre Town School (VT) starting as a special educator and serving many years as the Director of Student Support Services. He also spent 6 years as a classroom teacher grades 5-8 in NJ.

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