Producing child-centered interventions: Social network factors related to the quality of professional development for teachers of autistic students

Elizabeth Mcghee Hassrick, Jessica Suhrheinrich, Patricia Schetter, Allison Nahmias, Melina Melgarejo, Jennica Li, Jonas Ventimiglia, Yue Yu, Aubyn Stahmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Autistic students benefit from child-centered goals that align with evidence-based practices (EBPs) that meet their individualized needs, however, most teachers are not trained in how to implement autism-specific EBPs. The challenges do not lie with teachers alone. Professional development (PD) providers, such as district or regional autism experts who train and coach teachers on how to implement autism-specific EBPs, face barriers accessing the needed supports to conduct high-quality PD and lack experience with individualizing their methods for training and coaching teachers. When PD providers have networks of professional support, they can potentially gain access to resources to provide successful individualized coaching for teachers. No research has measured the impact of the social networks of PD providers on their performance as coaches in classrooms for teachers of autistic students. To test the hypothesis that social network resources can impact the performance of PD providers who coach teachers how to use EBPs for their autistic students, we conducted social network analysis with PD providers. Findings suggest that network factors were associated with the self-reported performance for PD providers. PD providers who have more people in their networks who were autism EBP experts, as well as more people in their networks who supported them with how to individualize their PD efforts to specific teachers or districts, had higher performance as teacher coaches. We discuss future research about how to support network development for PD providers and policy implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number453
JournalSocial Sciences
Volume10
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Child-centered evidence-based practice
  • Education
  • Implementation science
  • Professional development
  • Social networks
  • Teacher training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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