About Project ACCESS

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Serving Missouri schools since 1985

Missouri's state education and resource agency for autism was established by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Division of Special Education (DESE) to enhance the development of professional skills in Missouri's educators serving students with disabilities. Acknowledging a common vision, Missouri State University (Missouri State) and DESE entered into a partnership of commitment to ongoing professional development of all Missouri's school personnel. Our mission is to increase local capacity to serve students in Missouri's public schools who experience Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related disabilities.

Project ACCESS provides support and technical assistance to Missouri school districts serving students with autism. Staffed with resource specialists in autism, Project ACCESS offers professional development opportunities and two tiers of autism consultation to Missouri's schools. These services are available on a statewide basis. Information regarding all services may be obtained by contacting Project ACCESS at 866-481-3841 or ProjectAccess@MissouriState.edu (individual staff members contact information is available on our staff directory page). To maintain contact, you are invited to subscribe to our blog or join our social network groups.

To learn more about us, you might be interested in viewing our annual report executive summary, checking out a few data links, or downloading our promotional flash drive content (better yet, visit us at our next conference booth and we'll be happy to give you a flash drive). To learn more about autism, visit our educational definition of autism page. Below is a synopsis of what we offer to school personnel.

Autism Training for School Personnel

Project ACCESS Training:

Project ACCESS offers training to assist Missouri school district personnel enhance the learning experience of students who experience Autism Spectrum Disorder and related disabilities. We have a wide variety of topics available, as well as the ability to tailor training to the specific needs of the audience. While the training is autism-specific, the evidence-based strategies offered are effective for all students. These training sessions may be presented in conjunction with a local Regional Professional Development Center (RPDC) or onsite at the school district or other appropriate location. In addition to our face-to-face training, we have online offerings for some of our training. Learn more about Project ACCESS training and view our Calendar of Training Events.

Project ACCESS Sponsored Training:

Project ACCESS periodically sponsors training and workshops provided by third-party professionals and provides scholarships to selected Missouri educators to benefit from quality professional development opportunities. This is designed to provide increased access to a variety of presenters' knowledge and materials to increase available tools for educators to utilize with their students. Learn about Sponsored Training.

Project ACCESS Online Training:

We offer Introduction to Education of Students with Autism in an online version, available via our free Community of Practice. This training involves pre and post-tests, instructional videos and materials, along with graded activities to provide educators with the opportunity to learn about Autism Spectrum Disorder in a format that is not confined to a specific time frame. In addition, we have shorter informational podcasts and webinars available via the Community of Practice. Learn more about online training.

Autism Resources

Resources for Educators and Parents:

Project ACCESS offers a variety of written and electronic resources for educators and parents. Resources are available via our website, Community of Practice, blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed (@MOProjectACCESS) as well as by contacting Project ACCESS directly to request information and assistance. Resources include:

Autism Support Services

Child-Specific Consultations from a Missouri Autism Consultant (MAC):

Project ACCESS arranges visits from Missouri Autism Consultants [MACs] for school districts needing on-site consultations. MACs are trained by Project ACCESS in the philosophy of viewing the whole child within his or her environment, and to structure programs in a collaborative manner to fit both the child and the school district. Project ACCESS is proud of this cadre of consultants, who are educational professionals with extensive training and experience working with students with autism in the schools. Learn more about MAC consultations.

Onsite Autism Coaching ~ Project ACCESS Autism Credential (PAAC):

Project ACCESS Autism Credential (PAACs) participants are educators that work directly with students and are responsible for their programming. By the time they have earned the designation, PAACs will have completed a rigorous schedule of training in evidence-based interventions, documented mastery of knowledge and skills through presentation of portfolio artifacts aligned to competencies, and experienced onsite in-classroom coaching by experts in the field. For individuals that are not classroom teachers, we are providing the designation of Project ACCESS Autism Team Support (PAATS). For PAATS, the training is the same but there will not be a coaching component. More information about these programs is available on our PAAC/PAATS Frequently Asked Questions page.

Third-Party Consultants Map and Directory (ABA):

Project ACCESS is pleased to make available information to connect with Missouri professionals with specialized training in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for those school districts that need these services. The map provides the location and contact information of professionals who are credentialed certificants that are listed on the Behavior Analyst Certification Board website. These professionals are not necessarily directly associated with Project ACCESS. View the ABA map.

Project ACCESS Autism Helpline

The Autism Helpline is a web-based community portal for submitting questions about challenging school and classroom situations that you need advice regarding or that you are able to offer advice about. It is an online gathering place to share ideas, discuss issues, and generate solutions for those who work with, advocate for and support students with autism or a related developmental issue in Missouri's public schools. Accounts are free and available to anyone.

To have an account created for you, please complete the registration form available here (please allow one business day for your account to be created): Autism Helpline Account Request

Once you have an account, you can access the community by following this hyperlink: Project ACCESS Autism Helpline.

Graduate Certificate in Individualized Studies ~ Focus Area: Research and Applications in Autism for Teachers

Project ACCESS and Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies at Missouri State University have partnered to make this certificate available. This 12-hour graduate certificate is offered to support educators and other professionals who desire greater expertise in the area of autism spectrum disorder.

More information is at the following link: Graduate Certificate