Implement, baby, implement!
After three decades and billions of dollars spent on research, many people with ASD and related conditions are still seeing little or no benefit in their day to day lives. Is traditional autism research becoming a bridge to nowhere?
Don't be blinded by white elephants
New programs that begin by investing heavily in new facilities risk creating a white elephant. Consider first creating an expert team, and then demonstrating that your program is effective, replicable, and sustainable.
Train & Hope Program Development
Too many people promoting the adoption of new practices focus on new programs of training. Their mistake? Ignoring other changes in policy and services often needed to support the widespread adoption of new practices.
A Bus to Betsy's
The nominee for Secretary of Education does not know what IDEA is. She wants more charters and less oversight. She thinks best practices and equal protection vary from state to state. Betsy DeVos would send special education back to the Stone Age.
The business of innovation in ASD services
Surprisingly, service innovation does not grow naturally from research: it builds on business plans shaped by available expertise, funding, key staff, and leadership. The result? Established services grow rapidly while emerging needs languish.
Delaware Network on Excellence in Autism
Can a new statewide training initiative increase expertise and capacity while bridging important gaps between sectors? Yes, if it focuses on cross-cutting needs, leverages other resources, and works with an effective inter-agency ASD committee.
Too small, and your program cannot maintain expertise, support more diverse students, and so on. Too big and you create layers of oversight that stretch the fidelity of your core practices. Just right, and you can break even AND plan for the future.
Are you ready to outgrow your niche?
All programs begin by exploiting a niche: focusing on specific set of goals, using specific practices, for a specific group of people, and so on. Recognizing this niche helps leaders and advocates project growth more accurately.
Few programs of research, training, and policy - and even some services - actually result in verifiable improvements in the lives of people with ASD. Set goals that demonstrate such outcomes to ensure meaningful program growth and impact.
A drop in the bucket
New analyses of the $2.5 billion of research grants awarded in the US between 2008 and 2015 suggests that these investments rarely have a direct or immediate impact on improving how well community-based practitioners identify ASD.
On Other Sites
What research guides the growth of services?
AutismSpectrumNewsFall 2017 (p.11)Not all research is equally relevant to agencies and professionals helping their students, patients, and clients achieve better lives right now. Research on outcomes is clearly relevant; research on ASD's possible causes less so.