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Abstract

Training preprofessional students about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is crucial, particularly since students with ASD are represented on the caseloads of approximately 90% of school-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs). When this training can occur within the context of an outreach program, the results of such programming can be mutually beneficial for the individuals served as well as the students. Through the present program, six graduate students and four undergraduate students created materials for 15 SLPs working in the schools in a significantly underserved region of the United States. Students created nearly 800 materials for the SLPs to use in therapy with children with ASD. These included visual schedules and picture/icon cards and social stories. Students completed a survey and wrote a reflection paper about what they learned. Survey data from all participants indicated that the program met the needs of the SLPs and furthered students’ skills in creating materials and understanding more about the demands of working as an SLP in the schools. Implications for undergraduate and graduate training including increasing student knowledge and confidence as well as gaining student perspectives on the experience and collaboration are discussed. Future directions for extensions of this training program are proposed.

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