Bringing Evidence-based Intervention Strategies to Autistic Students in Public Schools Statewide: The California Autism Professional Training and Information Network (CAPTAIN)

July 7, 2022

It is important for teachers and other educators working with autistic individuals in public schools to be trained in intervention strategies that have been researched and shown to work. Using these evidence-based practices is required by federal legislation and leads to better outcomes for autistic students. The challenge is that educators don’t always have adequate training on how to implement evidence-based strategies.

The California Autism Professional Training and Information Network (CAPTAIN) is a state-wide network that aims to encourage the use of high-quality, evidence-based strategies in the education of autistic individuals throughout the state. CAPTAIN has over 200 trainers who work in schools to provide instruction to almost 20,000 educators and individualized coaching to over 6,500 educators each year. A recent study published in the journal Autism by Aubyn Stahmer and colleagues tested whether being trained by CAPTAIN helps educators use evidence-based strategies more effectively in their classrooms.

The study was conducted at UC Davis and San Diego State University. The researchers surveyed educators trained by CAPTAIN and those not trained by CAPTAIN about their use of evidence-based practices, then compared the answers.

They found that CAPTAIN-trained educators reported better attitudes toward using evidence-based practices, were more likely to use the strategies correctly and used them more often with students. They had more in-depth knowledge of their primary intervention strategy and better ratings of classroom quality than educators who did not get CAPTAIN training. These findings show great promise for CAPTAIN as a model to support statewide use of better evidence-based strategies for autism. More studies are needed to see how the use of these practices improves student outcomes.

infographic explains the benefits of evidence-based practices and the successes of CAPTAIN.  Educators who received CAPTAIN training  reported better attitudes toward using evidence-based practices, were more likely to use the strategies correctly and used them more often with students. They had more in-depth knowledge of their primary intervention strategy and better ratings of classroom quality than educators who did not get CAPTAIN training