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Purpose: This project aims to develop and test an adapted professional development (PD) model to be used with the Advancing Social-communication And Play (ASAP) intervention, which is an intervention that focuses on improving early social communication and play skills of preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Research suggests that current PD models may not sufficiently improve educator practice and student outcomes or lead to sustained implementation. To address this, the project will iteratively develop ASAP Professional Development for Preschool Teams (PD-ASAP), which will be a model grounded in Normalization Process Theory, an implementation science approach used in complex health interventions. The PD model aims to be more feasible for preschool educational teams, more effective in changing educator practices (including ASAP implementation), and to enhance student outcomes. The pilot study will examine the impact of PD-ASAP on educator burnout, self-efficacy, and adherence to ASAP fidelity as well as on student classroom engagement, social-communication, and play skills. The pilot study will also include a cost analysis of the PD-ASAP.


  • Jessica Steinbrenner, PhD (PI)
  • Stephanie Reszka, PhD (Co-PI)
  • Linda Watson, EdD (Co-PI)
  • Other key contributors: Wanqing Zhang, MD, PhD (Investigator), Laura Kuhn, Jessica Meredith, Susan Szendrey, Heba Elsayed, Yu Xie