ASD: Assessing Needs for Information and Training in Indiana

HANDS in Autism® at the IU School of Medicine has been invited to conduct an analysis of the current resources and services related to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Indiana. The results of this analysis will help to inform the comprehensive plan for collaboratively and strategically strengthening the supports among systems for families and individuals with ASD.

One component of this analysis involves the completion of a comprehensive needs assessment. We are seeking input from all perspectives, whether as a family member, individual with ASD, medical provider, school personnel, justice system employee, or other community service provider. For this assessment to be representative of the many stakeholder groups that support individuals with ASD as well as reflective of the needs of individuals with ASD themselves, we need participation from as many people and from as many viewpoints as possible. All responses will be confidential and only summary data will be shared with the state and as part of the report and recommendations provided to the state.

Please take a moment to complete the survey and feel free to also share this information with others who may provide insight. The survey will take approximately 10- 15 minutes to complete. If you are interested in completing a hard copy survey or know of others who may be interested in completing a hard copy version of the survey, let us know as hard copies are available upon request.

To complete the Indiana Autism Needs Assessment, click on the following link:
English Version –
Spanish Version –

Featured Presentations

Supporting Families through the LifeCourse with Julie Reynolds, DDRS

Insurance and Advocating with Michele Trivedi, The Arc of Indiana

Indiana Systems of Care: Strengthening Our Communities with Jayme Whitacker, FSSA, DMHA and Christy Gauss, IDOE

Innovation in Action

School-Home Collaborative Network – An Initiative towards Greater Teaming and Engagement (March 2021)

School-Home Collaborative Network is a new initiative started by the HANDS in Autism® to address the needs of a community in a more holistic and comprehensive way. Read/Listen to Podcast

The NeuroDiagnostic Institute Adolescent Autism Services Unit – HANDS in Autism® Involvement towards Impact on Community Training, Transition, and Support (January 2021)

The NeuroDiagnostic Institute and Advanced Treatment Center, the state’s psychiatric hospital, houses a state-of-the-art adolescent autism services unit and an innovative community partnership for sustainability and prevention of re-admission. The NDI adolescent autism services unit is a collaboration of Damar Services, Inc., the Department of Psychiatry at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and HANDS in Autism Interdisciplinary Training and Resource Center, also within the Department of Psychiatry at IUSM. Read/Listen to Podcast

Kelsey Cowley’s Fellowship on Sexual Abuse, Violence, and Prevention (December 2019)

As part of a fellowship program through the Self-Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistant Center (SARTAC), Kelsey Cowley, Vice-President of Self-Advocates of Indiana, developed information and resources regarding sexual abuse and violence against people with disabilities, and steps for prevention. Learn more

Explore resources on sexual abuse, violence, and prevention

What is Evidence-Based?

On this page, you can explore the following topics (click on the topic of interest):

… in Education

Evidence-based practices refer to “any concept or strategy that is derived from or informed by objective evidence—most commonly, educational research or metrics of school, teacher, and student performance. Among the most common applications are evidence-based decisions, evidence-based school improvement, and evidence-based instruction. ” Read the full article in the Glossary of Education Reform.

Back to Top

… in Medicine

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is “the conscientious, explicit, judicious and reasonable use of modern, best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. EBM integrates clinical experience and patient values with the best available research information.” Read the full article

Back to Top

… in Psychotherapy

Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) “are treatments that are based directly on scientific evidence suggesting that strongest contributors and risk factors for psychological symptoms. Most EBPs have been studied in several large-scale clinical trials, involving thousands of patients and careful comparison of the effects of EBPs vs. other types of psychological treatments. Dozens of multi-year studies have shown that EBPs can reduce symptoms significantly for many years following the end of psychological treatment – similar evidence for other types of therapies is not available to date.” Read the full article on the ABCT Website

Back to Top

Evidence-Based Practices and Autism

The field of autism research and practice is constantly evolving. Because of such ongoing changes, it is important for families, educators, medical professionals, and service providers among others to stay up-to-date on evidence-based practices for interventions and strategies that can help individuals with ASD achieve their independence.

Frank Porter Graham Institute: 2020 “Evidence-Based Practices for Children, Youth, and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Tip Sheet: Engaging People with Disabilities in Evidence-Based Programs

Back to Top

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is a research-based philosophy of working with individuals of different abilities, not just individuals with ASD. ABA encompasses a range of strategies and methods based on standard behavioral principles designed to address reduction of behaviors by encouraging positive or desired behaviors and discouraging negative or unwanted behaviors in order to improve a variety of skills. Behaviors are considered to be a form of communication that can be addressed by teaching appropriate skills to support the reduction of undesired behaviors across settings. Examples of ABA methods include, but are not limited to:

Discrete Trial Training: Teaching an individual one particular skill through repeated trials
Incidental Teaching: Creating a learning environment based on an individual’s interests or motivations
Pivotal Response Training: Focusing on positive changes in key behaviors to positively affect other behaviors
Social Stories™: Using words and/or pictures to describe what to do in various situations that may challenge or provoke anxiety within an individual (developed by Carol Gray)

Learn more about ABA on the Applied Behavior Analysis page.

Back to Top

Structured Teaching (TEACCH; Schopler)

Structured teaching involves setting up an individual’s environment for success by using structure (e.g., physical structure, visual structure, visual schedules, work systems) to lend organization, predictability and understanding of expectations.  The structured teaching method is designed to capitalize on strengths of individuals with ASD, minimize their challenges and support independence. Structured teaching originated at the TEACCH Program at the University of North Carolina.

Back to Top

Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS; Bondy and Frost)

The Picture Exchange Communication System, or PECS, is designed to improve an individual’s ability to expressively communicate through the use of pictures representing language or concepts. The individual is systematically and gradually taught the expectation for exchange of a picture to communicate and interact with others.  As the system is utilized, additional picture cards are added as appropriate and the complexity of the communications can be increased.  This low tech communication system can be utilized to promote functional communication as an alternative to negative behaviors and in combination with and/or to promote verbal or other communications as well.

Back to Top

Verbal Behavior Analysis (VBA; Skinner)

Verbal Behavior Analysis utilizes DTT methods to specifically focus on and teach verbal skills. Individuals are taught to use appropriate words when motivated to make it clear to the individual that communication has a function and to help individuals learn the right words to use within a given context.

Unestablished treatment options also exist and may be explored in more detail using credible resources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionthe National Autism Center’s National Standards ProjectNational Institute of Health, and medical providers in your area.

Back to Top

Additional Resources

Back to Top