HANDS in Autism® has emerged as a state-wide training and resource center making a significant impact in the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other special needs as well as their families and caregivers. The evidence-based behavioral and educational practices at the core of the HANDS curriculum have had noted feasibility and practicality to providers and other stakeholders across settings (educational, medical/clinical, home/community). In addition, though the focus and expertise of HANDS is well recognized in ASD and related disabilities, consumers also appreciate that the same behavioral and educational principles and practices are relevant and useful to a wide range of individuals across functioning levels and the lifespan.
Central to HANDS success in outreach and training is its integration within a setting immersed with medical professionals, serving individuals and families and consulting statewide within community schools, homes, treatment facilities, and otherwise. Through this immersive role within the diversity of settings has required HANDS to intimately learn the factors impacting successful outcomes in service delivery across these settings. In addition, working closely with the individuals within these systems has fostered an understanding of the perspectives, language, approaches, tools and roles defining the context and impactful to the type of technical assistance that is most conducive to engagement, learning and usability of the information and strategies.
Furthermore, the trainers at HANDS have emerged from practice in a number of fields and settings and continue to practice beyond a training or consultative role within the field across settings, ages, functioning levels and disabilities. This enables a greater depth and breadth of relatedness, understanding, examples, and delivery of information pertinent to those providing service across such contexts.
To provide unique learning opportunities designed to improve understanding of the process and ability of working with individuals with ASD and a range of other developmental and behavioral challenges through hands-on and coaching experiences and building bridges of information, resources and collaboration across family, educational, medical and community systems.
To build local capacity statewide through continuous learning and demonstration of effective implementation of (1) evidence-based practices in supporting individuals with ASD and other neurodevelopmental and behavioral disorders across home, school, medical and other community settings and (2) regional community networks composed of same stakeholders bridging across systems and settings with a focus on shared responsibility for positive individual and family outcomes.