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School Psychologists’ and Counselors’ Perspectives on Evidence-Based Practices for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders


There are many interventions that have been tested in university settings for school-aged children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that show evidence for efficacy. However, because they have largely not yet been implemented in school and community settings, very few youth with ASD currently have access to them. Because children with autism spend much of their time in school and receive many school-based services, schools are a key setting for the dissemination of evidence-based practices for ASD. While many implementation studies have been conducted including paraprofessionals and teachers as interventionists, very little research has examined school psychologists or counselors as interventionists in evidence-based practice school dissemination efforts for ASD. In this exploratory mixed-methods study, potential barriers to and means of including school psychologists/counselors in evidence-based practice implementation research in schools are examined. Through the use of interviews and the Evidence-Based Practice Attitudes Scale-50 (Aarons, Cafri, Lugo, & Sawitsky, 2012), the study explored school psychologists’ and counselors’ perspectives on current use of interventions and evidence-based practices, needs of youth with autism, training in evidence-based practices, attitudes towards evidence-based practices, and potential barriers to implementing evidence-based practices for youth with autism in schools. Both survey and interview results indicated that school psychologists and counselors view EBPs for ASD positively. In addition, the majority of participants expressed an interest in obtaining more training on EBPs for ASD and stated that they are currently using EBPs with students with ASD. Lack of training and time were cited as the primary barriers to greater EBP utilization with students with ASD in schools. Implications for future EBP dissemination efforts involving school psychologists and counselors are discussed.

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