As the reported prevalence of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) increases, the need to provide necessary supports for educators to be successful in serving those students also rises. Project ACCESS trains In-District Autism Consultants (IDACs) to assist Missouri public school educators in their district with understanding how ASD differs from other disabilities and how to use strategies that are most effective in working with students with ASD.
Project ACCESS trains certified teachers and therapists to serve as an In-District Autism Consultant (IDAC) within their school district. IDACs have met prerequisite requirements, including having completed at least six days of autism-specific training provided by Project ACCESS, as well having earned certification in special education or a closely related field. These individuals are chosen by administration within the district to serve in a consulting capacity to their colleagues at the discretion of their district and within the context of their individual district's needs. IDACs do not provide consultation outside of their districts. IDACs typically work with special education staff but some work with general education staff as well.
A school district's administration may request to designate more than one IDAC candidate if that is appropriate and necessary for their particular district's effectiveness in meeting the needs of students who experience ASD and related disabilities.
While IDACs perform a variety of functions, their primary purpose is to effectively collaborate with fellow staff members and parents in order to provide quality educational programming and increase local capacity to serve students with ASD. Some examples of how an IDAC might serve include:
- collaborating and consulting with colleagues regarding best practice strategies or interventions
- administering autism-specific instruments
- developing evaluation plans and participating in IEPs for students
- assisting in providing modifications and adaptations for success in the least restrictive environment
- mentoring educators and team problem-solving
- providing professional development for staff and/or making staff aware of trainings available
In most cases it is possible for IDACs to carry their titles with them when they transfer to another Missouri school district with the endorsement of their new district's administration. A map of schools that have an In-district Autism Consultant is available on our website.