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CFS's Dr. Rose Iovannone Co-Investigator of Intervention Funded by the Institute of Education Sciences

Dr. Rose IovannoneDr. Rose Iovannone and the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities in the Department of Child & Family Studies are among three centers (University of Rochester, Appalachian State University, University of South Florida) selected to develop and pilot their intervention model, Students with Autism Accessing General Education (SAAGE).

The three-year, $1,500,000 research project is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences/National Center for Special Education Research Program and aims to increase the quality of educational services and access to inclusive settings for students with co-occurring autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID) in elementary school (kindergarten through 5th grade).

The SAAGE intervention will be a modular approach to selecting and implementing evidence-based interventions. The SAAGE approach for each student includes identifying individual goals, selecting appropriate teaching strategies, and systematically monitoring progress and trouble-shooting.

Year one of SAAGE will focus on developing the intervention materials that will be used with school-based teams and coaches. Materials will be reviewed by national experts, and based on feedback, will be refined. Following expert review, focus groups will be conducted at each school district site to get consumer input on materials and on barriers and enhancers to implementing evidence-based interventions in schools.

Year two of SAAGE will test out the feasibility and usability of the intervention and study protocols by implementing it with 3-5 students and their teams at each of the three sites. Final refinements to the SAAGE intervention will be made based on feedback from the teams.

The final year of SAAGE will conduct an underpowered randomized controlled trial in two schools in each district of each site to investigate whether the intervention has the promise of improving educational outcomes for students with ASD and ID. Outcomes being measured include (a) teacher implementation fidelity, (b) student skills such as academic engaged time and social skills, (c) student time spend in general education, and (d) teacher social validity.

“The number and scope of evidence-based interventions for students with autism spectrum disorders are numerous and can be overwhelming for school-based teams in making decisions on the specific strategies to implement,” said Dr. Iovannone. “The SAAGE modular approach will give teams the flexibility and feasibility of selecting the specific evidence-based interventions that best match the characteristics of the individual student.”

Products of this project will include a fully developed SAAGE intervention, along with companion training materials, modules, and manuals that will improve educational services and access to inclusive settings for students with autism spectrum disorder and co-occurring intellectual disability.

The team will disseminate results through peer-reviewed publications and presentations for multiple audiences and will also share results with schools and districts.

USF team members include:

Rose Iovannone: Co-PI
Krystal McFee: Coordinator
Sharon Hodges: Qualitative Researcher
Rocky Haynes: Research Assistant

For additional information, visit: http://ies.ed.gov/funding/grantsearch/details.asp?ID=1623.

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