Online Autism Solutions: CARD eLearning™ and CARD Skills®

04/18/2012
Adel Najdowski, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States, is characterized by impairments in communication and socialization and is often marked by repetitive behaviors such as rocking and head banging. ASD is more prevalent than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined and its rising prevalence poses an enormous economic challenge to both families and schools burdened by this epidemic.

Due to the rising incidence of ASD, classrooms are faced with a new challenge of providing appropriate and individualized instruction to more students with the disorder, albeit with fewer resources. Due to budget cuts, access to assistants and aides is decreasing and schools are in desperate need for programs to provide solutions for the education of this growing population of students.

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Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

To date, the most effective treatment for ASD is applied behavior analysis (ABA) which is the application of scientifically established principles of learning and behavior to increase socially important behaviors and decrease maladaptive ones. The scientific evidence documenting the effectiveness of ABA has led several independent bodies to recommend ABA for the treatment of ASD, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (Myers & Plauche Johnson, 2007), the New York State Department of Health (New York State Department of Health, Early Intervention Program, 1999), the National Academy of Sciences (National Academy of Sciences, 2001), and the U.S. Surgeon General (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1999).

School districts have begun hiring board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) to incorporate ABA into the education of those with ASD. However, due to budget constraints, they’re unable to hire enough BCBAs to integrate ABA into all classrooms and IEPs. Given this dilemma, school districts are turning to technology as a means of facilitating access to ABA.

Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD)

Two such technology solutions that have recently received a great deal of attention are CARD eLearning and CARD Skills. Both were developed by the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. (CARD), the largest provider of quality ABA services worldwide. CARD employs the best behavioral science researchers and more BCBAs than any other treatment provider. Based on the principles and procedures of ABA, researchers and clinicians at CARD developed a training program called CARD eLearning, and a web-based treatment management program called CARD Skills.

CARD eLearning provides an interactive, web-based training and certification program that allows trainees to access CARD’s library of classes. CARD Skills provides access to the most comprehensive assessment, curriculum, and progress-tracking system rooted in ABA that has ever existed. Designed to give individuals a world-class education on ASD and the use of ABA to create successful treatment programs, CARD eLearning and CARD Skills also include expert coaching and mentorship opportunities. 

CARD eLearning

CARD eLearning includes self-guided lectures through narrated video presentations that introduce topics related to implementing ABA procedures.  The training series consists of nine video-based training modules that feature online note-taking, quizzes, a final exam and a certificate of course completion. Most modules also include beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons which cater to educators and clinicians of all levels.  Trainees may also obtain continuing education units for the training. Plus, for larger institutions that have multiple providers, the eLearning program tracks participant performance on eLearning quizzes and tests to ensure quality.

CARD Skills

The CARD Skills web-based treatment management program provides four services for individuals designing curriculum programs for children with ASD: comprehensive assessment, lesson plans derived from items flagged in the assessment, a behavior intervention plan builder for challenging behavior, and a tracking system which graphically depicts the child’s progress. CARD Skills offers the most comprehensive assessment and curriculum in the world and includes such high-level skills as social cognition (i.e., theory of mind) and executive functions which are not available in any other ABA-based ASD curriculum. The program includes nearly 4,000 teaching lesson plans and has IEP goals and benchmarks as well as activity guides, worksheets, visual aids, and data tracking forms. In addition, CARD Skills produces reports on child progress and teacher effectiveness which are customizable for school districts.

Conclusion

Educators are faced with significant challenges in their efforts to meet the needs of an increasing number of students with ASD in their classrooms.  The current economic climate means that school districts are struggling to access the training and tools they need to provide an effective education to every child. CARD eLearning and CARD Skills offer a web-based solution to this crisis.

Free access for your school

To test these tools out in your school district, ask us about our free trial: [email protected]. For more information regarding CARD, you can visit www.centerforautism.com.

Adel Najdowski, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is the co-creator and director of Skills® at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. She has worked with children and their families affected by ASD using ABA-based intervention since 1995 in school-based, home-based, center-based, and workshop settings. She is a member of the editorial board for Behavior Analysis in Practice and Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and has six first-authored and 18 co-authored publications.
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