Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

The impact of classroom climate on autism intervention fidelity and outcomes  

This is an individual National Research Service Award for pre-doctoral research training, which provides support for promising doctoral candidates who will be performing dissertation research and training in a scientific health-related field. Interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that have proven efficacious in research settings generally have not been effectively implemented in community settings. Challenges to successful implementation of interventions are apparent in AIMS (Autism Instructional Methods Study), an ongoing, randomized trial designed to test the effectiveness of an efficacious, teacher-delivered, curriculum-based intervention for children enrolled in autism support classrooms in a large, urban school district. Early observations suggest that a key reason for this variability is the extent to which the teachers perceive that their use of the intervention is expected, supported, and rewarded by their supervisors and other classroom staff. This shared perception is referred to as the organization's implementation climate. While a rich literature examines the role of the implementation climate in business settings, there is little study of the unique implementation climate in health and human services in general and special education settings specifically. The proposed study will examine the impact of 1) administrative and education support staffs' acceptance of the intervention and 2) the climate of autism support classrooms on the ongoing implementation of an evidence-based intervention and subsequent student outcomes. To address these aims, school principals and classroom assistants will report their acceptance of and support for the intervention, teachers will report on classroom implementation climate, and direct measures of program fidelity and child outcomes from the ongoing trial will be used. This project will advance understanding of the best ways to support the implementation of efficacious interventions in special education settings. It will apply conceptual models and tools developed in business contexts to special education settings, with the goal of quantifying the extent to which the school and classroom environment supports or impedes intervention implementation. This study provides a strong foundation for intervention research targeting organizational climate as a way to support the implementation of evidence-based interventions, with the goal of improving services and outcomes for children. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $41,380.00
Current Award Period 2009-2011
Project Number 5F31MH088172-02
Principal Investigator Dingfelder, Hilary
Received ARRA Funding? No
Strategic Plan Question Question 4: Which Treatments And Interventions Will Help? (Treatments)
Subcategory Educational
Strategic Plan Objective New! Green dot: Objective has greater than or equal to the recommended funding. 4LD. Support at least five community-based studies that assess the effectiveness of interventions and services in broader community settings by 2015. Such studies may include comparative effectiveness research studies that assess the relative effectiveness of: o Different and/or combined medical, pharmacological, nutritional, behavioral, service-provision, and parent- or caregiver-implemented treatments; o Scalable early intervention programs for implementation in underserved, low-resource, and low-literacy populations; and o Studies of widely used community intervention models for which extensive published data are not available. Outcome measures should include assessment of potential harm as a result of autism treatments, as well as positive outcomes. IACC Recommended Budget: $37,500,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution University of Pennsylvania
State/Country Pennsylvania
Web Link 1 The impact of classroom climate on autism intervention fidelity and outcomes (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects The impact of classroom climate on autism intervention fidelity and outcomes | $41,176.00 | 2009 | 1F31MH088172-01