Autism Spectrum Disorders
Welcome to the RPS autism education and outreach website. This portion of the RPS webpage is devoted to providing information about autism spectrum disorders to families, staff and students related to available resources, networking, and information regarding transition and independent living.
The links to the left will help you navigate through the information that is of interest to you or pertinent to your child. You will see that there is general information, such as “What is autism”, as well as specific information about RPS’ services, supports, and projects.
Richmond Public Schools has made a concerted effort to partner with professional organizations and universities to increase access to training for teachers and ultimately improve services for students.
Virginia Commonwealth University- Autism Center for Excellence
Richmond Public Schools was awarded a grant from Virginia Commonwealth University to receive technical assistance across 3 years. Technical assistance included development of a strategic plan, providing professional development to a variety of school personnel, assisting in development of various assessment and training tools and products, and providing additional support and resources related to serving students with Autism and their families.
School of Special Education and Disability Policy
Richmond Public Schools is working with Virginia Commonwealth University School of Special Education and Disability Policy to send teachers through a cohort of classes to earn their certificate in Autism. Richmond Public Schools has had over 70 staff earn their certificate. While Virginia does not currently have a certification specifically for Autism, these four courses provide a comprehensive look at how Autism affects students' learning. Classes are aligned with the Skill Competencies for Professionals and Paraprofessionals in Virginia Supporting Individuals with Autism Across the Lifespan as presented by the Virginia Autism Council.
Virginia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (VA-LEND)
Partnering with VA-LEND has given Richmond Public Schools access to training and staff development regarding assessment, teaming, family centered planning and IEP development. RPS has several staff trained to conduct the Autism Diagnostic Rating Scale (ADOS) which is considered the "Gold Standard" in Autism assessment. Professional development is ongoing to keep staff up to date with current research and applications.
Commonwealth Autism Services
Working with Commonwealth Autism and VCU, Richmond has created a multidisciplinary team of professionals including a Psychologist, Speech/Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Nurse and Early Childhood Special Educator to receive training with the goal of improving identification services for toddlers. To smooth the transition early intervention, this team uses the best tools available and strives to engage the parents as active partners.