Oregon Program Autism Training Sites and Supports

Fall 2015 Newsletter
 OrPATS Activities
  • Support existing OrPATS training sites and develop new sites as needed throughout all regions of the state.
  • Conduct workshops on evidence-based practices throughout the state.
  • Conduct workshops for new autism specialists/consultants and coordinate additional opportunities for training.
  • Provide follow-up webinar support and training site visitation support to workshop participants in order to ensure implementation of evidence-based practices.
  • Assist regional and district autism specialists to complete the ASD Program Self-assessment & Action Plan.
  • Continue to develop and maintain the on-line system for completing the ASD Program self-assessment.
  • Collaborate with the Oregon Regional Management Team, ODE and the Oregon ASD Commission to coordinate the ASD Self-Assessment Revision Process.
  • Provide support to Early Childhood Programs to implement evidence-based practices in a variety of environments.
  • Pilot the establishment of post-secondary transition implementation teams in each region of the state.
  • Supporting students and staff in general education to promote inclusion of all students.
  • Provide reimbursement funds for substitute release time to attend workshops and for follow-up training at training sites.
 Classroom Highlights:
Little Steps Preschool in Central Oregon
This month's classroom highlight is Little Steps Preschool  at High Desert ESD. The teaching team at Little Steps use a variety of instructional strategies for their students with more significant learning needs. Many students have benefited from the use of The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Students quickly learn to communicate desired choices or wants through this program. The PECS system is used throughout the student's day with an emphasis during circle time activities and snack time.  Cindy VomSteeg, the classroom teacher and her teaching team focus daily on teaching students how to use the system. Using this strategy effectively involves planning, preparation and a commitment to implementing the program with fidelity. For more information on the research on PECS, see our Research Report Section below.
Research Report
Focus on PECS
The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is an ABA-based intervention often used in classrooms.  Many OrPATS training sites  use PECS in conjunction with other ABA instructional methods.  PECS can significantly improve functional communication skills. In the past few years, several researchers have examined outcomes of PECS or similar systems compared with other interventions in the specific areas of manding (requesting) and social-communication skills. One 2013 study, published in The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, concluded that subjects with severe language delays more readily learned an exchange-based system (such as PECS) than one using signed requests, when acquiring requesting skills (Barlow, K., Tiger, J., Slocum, S. & Miller, S. ,2013). These findings may be particularly relevant to those engaged in behavior support planning when requesting skills may be taught as a replacement for problem behaviors such as yelling or aggression. In another study, published in the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, researchers examined the effects of PECS on a range of social-communication skills. In this study eighteen preschool children received intervention in either PECS or Conventional Language Therapy (CLT). The PECS group showed significantly more improvement in the areas of joint attention, requesting, initiation, and cooperative play (Lerna, A., Esposito, D., Conson, M., Russo, L. & Massagli, A., 2012). 
PECS is identified as an Evidence Based Practice by the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder (Wong, C., Odom, S. L., Hume, K. A., Cox, C. W., Fettig, A., Kurcharczyk, S., et al. (2015). More information about PECS, along with research summaries, can be found on their website.

OrPATS Webinars Available
Participants who attend a workshop offered by OrPATS will receive a link to a follow-up Webinar. Look for an e-mail with logon information after attending an OrPATS workshop.
OrPATS looking for new team members!
We are looking for full or part time educators to join our team. 
To apply, send a letter of interest to joel.arick@orpats.org


The Oregon Program Autism Training Sites and Supports (OrPATS) project brings evidence-based practices to Oregon schools throughout the state. More than 40 training sites have been established in Oregon public schools in each region of the state and across all grade levels.
Oregon COSA Conference
 Presentation by
Joel Arick
OrPATS Project Director

 Developing a Comprehensive Program
for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders Using Evidence-based Practices 
This presentation described the components of a comprehensive district-wide program for students with autism. Implementing  evidence-based instructional strategies results in improved outcomes for students, increased communication with parents and job satisfaction for staff. Practical long-term solutions for implementing an effective program were presented. Information on staff training available in Oregon through the Oregon Program Autism Training Sites and Supports project and the Oregon Regional Programs was also shared. Download Presentation
National Standards Project, Phase 2 
The Findings and Conclusions: National Stands Project, Phase 2 is now available. Established interventions have been identified. OrPATS training sites use a majority of the established interventions identified, such as behavioral interventions, modeling, schedules, pivotal response training and many more. Listed are also emerging interventions and unestablished interventions. The NSP2 Report is now available on the National Autism Center website.
New Autism Specialist Training 

First Workshop Oct. 26-27
The OrPATS Project in collaboration with the Oregon Regional Programs and the Oregon Department of Education will be offering training for new Autism Specialists or Consultants this school year. The training will include information on autism characteristics, Oregon assessment and eligibility procedures, evidence-based practices for students with autism and effective consultation methods. The first training will be a two day workshop and will focus on the autism characteristics and the Oregon eligibility procedures.  The training is open to any Regional or District autism specialist/consultant. To register for the workshop go to the OrPATS website and download the registration form.
OrPATS Workshops
Fall workshop's for the 2015-2016 school year have been scheduled.  OrPATS is providing workshops this fall on using evidence-based strategies and research-based curriculum. Check the OrPATS website to view upcoming training for the 2015-2016 school year. 
Reimbursement Requests
Remember to submit your substitute reimbursement request for an OrPATS workshop or training site visit. There is a limited amount of funds available on a first come first serve basis.  Please click here to download the substitute reimbursement request form. 
Contact Us
Have a question?
Need more information?

Contact us at information@orpats.org
OrPATS Staff
Brenda Hancock
Darby Lasley
Shasta Quigley
Karen Shepherd
Jenny Workman
Jennie Willis

Joel Arick