The California School Psychologist - CASPOnline 4 The California School Psychologist, 2006, Vol. 11

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Transcript of The California School Psychologist - CASPOnline 4 The California School Psychologist, 2006, Vol. 11

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    The California School Psychologist 2006, Volume 11

    The California School Psychologist Provides Valuable Information Regarding Autism Spectrum Disorders



    Special Topic Articles

    Natacha Akshoomoff Christina Corsello Heather Schmidt

    The Role of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule in the Assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorders in School and Community Settings

    Shane R. Jimerson

    John S. Carlson Tara Brinkman Amy Majewicz-Hefley

    Medication Treatment Outcomes for School-Aged Children Diagnosed with Autism

    Stephen E. Brock An Examination of the Changing Rates of Autism in Special Education

    Bridging the Transition to Kindergarten: School Readiness Case Studies from California’s First 5 Initiative

    Michael P. Bates Alyce Mastrianni Carole Mintzer William Nicholas Michael J. Furlong Jenne Simental Jennifer Greif Green

    Using Sociograms to Identify Social Status in the Classroom

    Brian P. Leung Jessica Silberling

    School Crisis Teams within an Incident Command System

    Amanda B. Nickerson Stephen E. Brock Melissa A. Reeves

    Projective Assessment and School Psychology: Contemporary Validity Issues and Implications for Practice

    David N. Miller Amanda B. Nickerson









    General Articles

    Natasha Henley Michael Furlong

    Using Curriculum-Derived Progress Monitoring Data as Part of a Response-to-Intervention Strategy: A Case Study


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    The California School Psychologist Contributes Valuable Knowledge to

    Promote Student Success

    Shane R. Jimerson University of California, Santa Barbara

    This volume of The California School Psychologist includes several articles regarding “autism spectrum disorder” as well as other informative articles on topics ranging from California’s First 5 Initiative, to school crisis teams, classroom sociograms, and projective assessments. These articles provide valuable information for school psychologists and other professionals working in the schools, and also contribute to the literature and scholarship that aims to promote the educational success of all students. Previous articles published in The California School Psychologist, including the recent vol- umes addressing a) school engagement, b) strength-based assessment, and c) response to intervention (RTI), are available on-line at

    The first article (Akshoomoff, Corsello, & Schmidt, 2006) reports the results of a national survey examining autism diagnosis practices among school and clinical psychologists. The role of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) was a particular focus of this study. The results of this study revealed that both school psychologists and clinical psychologists were similar in following best prac- tice guidelines for screening, diagnosis, and assessment. Both school psychologists and clinical psy- chologists were found to typically include a parent interview and a developmental history in their assessment. It was also found that school psychologists were more likely to include a home observa- tion or teacher report, relative to clinical psychologists. Perceived merits of the ADOS included the standardized structure for observation and capturing behaviors specific to autism spectrum disorder. The authors emphasize that more research is needed on how practitioners interpret the various diag- nostic criteria and the impact of different practices and level of expertise on classification and service utilization.

    The second article (Carlson, Brinkman, & Majawicz-Hefley, 2006) provides valuable information regarding the use of biomedical treatments with school-aged children diagnosed with autism. Noting the increasing prevalence of autism and the increased frequency of pharmacological interventions, this article provides a synthesis of research informing the outcomes and risks associated with psychotropic medications. No medications are currently FDA-approved for treating autism; however, such inter- ventions are often implemented as an adjunct to behavioral, social, and educational interventions. The authors identify specific domains where pharmacological treatments demonstrate promise in treating specific symptoms commonly associated with autism, including aggression, anxiety, agitation, cogni- tive inflexibility, overactivity, self-injury, and stereotypic behaviors. School psychologists are in a critical position to monitor the effects of various interventions, including medications. Moreover, it is important that school psychologists be knowledgeable of the effects of pharmacological interventions.

    The third article (Brock, 2006) examines the changing rates of autism in special education using data from the U.S. Department of Education. The U.S. Department of Education included “Autism” as a specific special education eligibility category beginning in 1991, whereas previously students with ASD who required special education assistance were identified as eligible by meeting other eligibility category criteria (e.g., mental retardation, speech/language impairment). This article explores whether classification substitution may be an explanation for increases in the number of students found eligible

    The California School Psychologist, Vol. 11, pp. 3-5, 2006

    Copyright 2006 California Association of School Psychologists

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    for special education using the autism criteria. The trends illustrate that as the rates of autism classifi- cation have gone up, the classification rates of mental retardation (MR), emotional disturbance (ED), and specific learning disability (SLD) have gone down. The author concludes that it is possible that the increased numbers of students found eligible for special education using autism criteria are at least in part a function of IEP teams being increasingly more willing and able to use autism criteria instead of MR, ED, and SLD criteria.

    The fourth article (Bates, Mastrianni, Mintzer, Nicholas, Furlong, Simental, & Greif-Green, 2006) presents information regarding bridging the transition to kindergarten. The first five years of develop- ment have been increasingly recognized as establishing a critical foundation for later success in school and life. Moreover, early interventions that combine child-focused educational activities with parent- child relationship building can positively influence children’s readiness for school, particularly for those at-risk for poor developmental outcomes. The authors present an overview of one such initia- tive—California’s First 5—and provide three Southern California case studies of how it is being imple- mented at the county level. Noting that the California Pupil Personnel Services Credential training standards added preschool as one of the primary fieldwork settings for school psychologists, and the Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Act (ITDA) Part C of IDEA (2004) was developed to improve the identification of infants and toddlers (ages birth to 2 years) with disabilities and to provide early intervention and family support services, the authors emphasize that the convergence of developmen- tal research, prevention science, and public policy initiatives are increasing efforts to enhance early educational experiences for all children in order to increase their chances of entering school fully ready to learn.

    The fifth article (Leung & Silbering, 2006) offers a review of literature regarding the use of sociograms to identify social status in the classroom. Emphasizing the importance of peer relations and the classroom context on learning,, the authors discuss the sociogram as a tool that may be used by school psychologists to explore the social climate and peer status in the classroom. The working defi- nition of sociometry is — a methodology for tracking the energy vectors of interpersonal relationships in a group. The process includes asking members of a group to choose others in the group based on a specific criteria, everyone in the group can make choices and describe why the choices were made. From this information a description emerges of the networks inside the group. An illustration of those networks is referred to as a sociogram. The sociogram represents the patterns of how individuals associate with each other. The authors advocate that the results of a class sociogram may be helpful in identifying the need for individual and/or classroom-wide intervention, and the information can also be used to assess effects of such interventions.

    The sixth article (Nickerson, Brock, & Reeves, 2006) provides a thoughtful and cogent discussion of school crisis teams within an incident command system infrastructure. Recognizing the lack of information regarding how to coordinate with multiple agencies involved following a crisis, this ar- ticle describes the U. S. Department of Homeland Security’s (2004) National Incident Management System and its Incident Command System (ICS), which provides a common set of concepts, prin- ciples, terminology, and organizational processes to facilitate crisis response activities. The authors compare the traditional school crisis team structure to the ICS structure and discuss the overlap and integration of the two. Two case scenarios help to illustrate how the school crisis team may operate in compliance with the ICS in different crisis situat